The Glass Castle remains faithful to its literary inspiration

One of the most recent films to hit theaters, The Glass Castle, is based on a memoir by Jeanette Walls that’s been moving readers since its publication in 2006.

This true story follows Jeannette as she recounts the memories of a wild childhood with her free-spirited family packing up and moving constantly, barely staying in one location long enough for the Walls kids to attend a proper school. However, school isn’t always needed with her enthusiastic father who teaches them about everything from the constellations in the sky to how to make their way in life.

Jeannette and her siblings all have to struggle and try to survive with their artistic mother, who can barely keep a teaching job, and their alcoholic father, who just about no one believes in anymore, except Jeannette herself. As the kids get older, now living in their father’s (mostly dumpy) hometown Welch, they come together to plan an escape to New York to find themselves and begin their lives.

While the film closely follows the plot lines of the book, the film changes a few things and shows a broader interpretation of the story. The majority of the book recounts memories of Jeannette’s past and her childhood while the film has frequent flash-forwards to Walls’ adult life and how she is dealing with her family now that they don’t live together. The book also includes more heartbreaking details, but those elements aren’t necessarily needed, they just add an aspect of realism to the true story.

Walls moved to New York to join her sister Lori when she was only 17 years old and finished her last year of high school. Before Jeannette was publishing best selling novels, she really began her career interning at a Brooklyn newspaper called The Phoenix. After working there, she wrote a column for New York magazine where she gained her first recognition. Her other books include Half Broke Horses and her most recent novel, The Sister Star.

This is the second book by Walls that I have read, the first being The Silver Star, and I really have enjoyed both. Both books are quick reads but also have complex storylines that hit the heart. The Glass Castle is a story with mature themes, but the most notable preoccupation in the book is the struggle of family life and loyalty. It confronts the difficult balance of standing up for your loved ones even if you don’t always want to.

The newest drama in theaters, The Glass Castle, is sure to cause a tear or two but leave a long-lasting impression.