The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a memoir of her life. She lives in New York City on a taxi on her way to a party when she sees her homeless mother digging into the dumpster. She is afraid her mother will recognize her and that someone from the party would find out about her secret, that she has a homeless mother. At that point Jeanette goes back at her apartment and feels guilty for all she has while her parents are homeless, mostly living in the streets. She tried to help them countless times but they would tell her that they were living the way they wanted to. Jeannette starts reflecting about how her past and her parents’ choices affected her as a person. Jeannette and her siblings are very resilient. They witnessed violence and went through extreme poverty, homelessness, parental neglect, serious incidents and injuries, lack of medical assistance, loss of a sibling, bullying, sexual abuse, attempted rape and other extreme experiences. But they made it at the end.
Jeannette starts illustrating her childhood. Her first memory dates back to when she was 3 years old. Cooking for herself a boiled hotdog, her dress catches on fire and she gets seriously burned. After days spent at the hospital her father comes to get her so they leave without paying the bill. They call it “the skedaddle”. The Walls family is always on the run like nomads, doing “the skedaddle” because Mom and Dad don’t pay any bills or rent. They move to the mining town of Battle Mountain and to Las Vegas in Nevada, to Phoenix where Grandmother on the Mom’s side lived, and to Welch where Grandmother on the Dad’s side lived, to finally end up in New York City.
Jeannette’s Dad has a practical type of intelligence. He can fix anything and he can get any job he wants. He also has fluid (speed of processing) and crystallized intelligence (quantity of information accumulated) because he can process information fast succeeding in gambling games, reads and is very acculturated about STEM fields. His problems are alcoholism and gambling, which get in the way of his responsibilities. He also has unreal expectances from life, he wants to be an inventor of “the Prospector” at all costs, a machine able to find and collect gold, or to make a new scientific discovery, a new technology that will burn coal more efficiently. However, his most unreal project is “the Glass Castle”, a construction he was planning to build for which he laid down all the structure down to the minimum details in paper.
Jeannette’s Mom, just like her Dad, has a practical type of intelligence; she is an expert about how to survive in the desert since there is where she lived. She is very creative and loves the arts; she reads, writes, and makes sculptures and paintings. Her problem is that she suffers from bipolar disorder which gets in the way of her responsibilities. At times, she has a very elevated mood and maniacally dedicates herself to her original creations, while other times she spends...