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.Why I Read This Book: I decided to pick this one up because a friend had told me she thought it was good, and I read the book at the book store one day, and said "why not?"
Review: I really enjoyed this book, with its short scene descriptions of a trio (I don't really count Maureen as she is much younger) of children growing up with a set of parents who have no clue what it means to care for them. The book was shocking, and I enjoyed that you could see the progress of Jeannette's ability to "get it" and make the right choices she needed to with what she had available to her. In the book you can see that she never really stops loving her parents, just accepts that what she wants from her life is different than what they do. My only complaint with this book, and why it got 4 stars is that there is no emotional reaction about what happens, just the facts of the story. That was a little disengaging at times, but I also understand that she wanted to get the story out there without being too revealing/forcing people to pity her.