I have a mini review for you today! A mini review is my short and sweet analysis of a book. You'll know in 350 words or less if this is a book I recommend.
Release Date: January 17, 2006
Genre: Autobiography, Memoir
Review Date: September 30, 2013
Rating: 4 bookmarks
Synopsis: Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town—and the family—Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.
The timing of the story was fast and well paced. It seemed like a never-ending roller coaster ride for Jeannette and her siblings. I can hardly believe that any parent would want their child to live in that manner. But that's a whole other discussion. This book did open up my eyes to a different world, one thankfully that I know nothing about.
Cons: Simply put, Rex and Rose Mary Walls are the worst part of this story. I get that they wanted to be minimalist and they wanted their children to be self sufficient, but they really took that to the far extreme. They are kids after all. The circumstances that their kids lived in and had to deal with was beyond believable and sad. But we needed to see the whole picture to understand the Walls kids’ story. Sadly both parents had their own messed up issues, which in turn trickled down and really influenced how they chose to live their lives.
Final Thoughts: Thank goodness for book club! Without book club, I would have never had the pleasure to read this book. I couldn't get this book from the library in a timely manner so I ended up purchasing it. I was nervous, but I'm glad that I did. It was totally worth it. Jeannette and her siblings survived their parents and became their own people, successful people (for the most part). They are an excellent representation of how not to become a product of your environment. I recommend this book to everyone. It's an interesting story and it's written in a way that's appealing and easy to digest.