Have you ever been mad at your parents? Either for things that they did or things that they never did for you? I feel that we live in an entitled culture (that is, in the U.S. of A.) that demands so much that we want, feel entitled to and crave from our families, from our upbringing and from our past.
But wait! Wait until you pick up this book I’ve been reading, called “The Glass Castle” (published in 2005) by Jeannette Walls. A feature article about Ms. Walls and her mother, Rosemary, appeared in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. There’s a photo of Jeannette, sitting on a couch in a disheveled room with her mother, Rosemary, who is slightly unkempt. Turns out Rosemary lives in this outer house by herself because that’s the way she likes it and also because there’s no other way, apparently.
I just returned from taking the book out at our local library and have read a bunch of it. It’s the best panacea for self-pity that I’ve ever come across. If you have a hard time appreciating what any of us has and bemoan what we wish we had, including love from our parents, or at least from parents who tried hard, or tried at all, then try reading this book. Honestly, some of the things that happen over and over again will make your hair stand on end. What’s truly amazing is the way they still hang together, for a very long time.
It’s a morality play almost, because somehow Jeannette, the author, managed to get through school, into Barnard College and began writing well enough to work for MSNBC. The amazing thing is that she didn’t turn her back on her folks, not then and not now. I don’t think the word, “forgiveness” really even applies here. Judgment is what’s lacking and believe me, there’s tons of situations just ripe for the “J” word.
So, if you decide to get a copy of this book, look up and around you after you’ve read a few pages: you will be so happy to have a place to sit and to be able to read a book. You will be thankful for what your loved ones put up with you and your quirks and foibles even when you don’t know if they really “get” you.
After reading this account about their family, I feel like saying, “no more, no more” to nit-picking our past, our parents and ourselves. It’s such a relief to feel glad and not mad anymore. . . that’s how I felt anyhow. That’s why reading is still an important thing to do in this day of accelerating technology. At least, books like this.