by Jeannette Walls. copyright 2005. Published by Scribner.
This is an amazing memoir, written with a lot of conversation and short chapter segments, which makes it very easy to read.
Jeannette and two of her siblings not only survive but thrive under their extremely neglectful parents – both eccentric, fanciful, highly intelligent and irresponsible.
The mother is self-centered, the father an alcoholic. The conditions they force upon their children are unbelievably harsh; they seem to have no conscience about the environment they provide for their children.
Though the mother inherits great wealth, she will have none of it. She prefers the adventures that poverty brings. The father occasionally has a tinge of conscience but is a slave to his drink.
What they do bestow on their children – especially on Jeannette – is a love of learning, intelligence, and a story no one else could tell.
My rating? 9 out of 10, which means I would recommend it to 9 out of 10 people. The 10th person might not appreciate nor see the value of the graphic details of children neglected. Writing style? Something to be imitated. You can tell Ms. Wall is a pro.
This is a trilogy set in England spanning from after WWI to after WWII. The titles of the books, in order, are
The Bird in the Tree, published in 1940 The Herb of Grace (entitled Pilgrim’s Inn by American publishers), written in 1948 The Heart of the Family, written in 1953.
About the Author
A quick look at Wikipedia also reveals this about Elizabeth Goudge’s writings: Her favorite among her books was The Little White Horse (1946), which is also a favorite of J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter stories. Read more…
– Jennifer Bryan at Wedding Reception in Houston
In a conversation about getting a (small!) tattoo
June 27, 2009
Why I Like This:
It’s a reminder to be patient with life. We don’t have to do it all now. I remember when this occurred to me, though maybe not in those words.
I must admit that at times I would view my four growing children as interruptions of my work – domestic and otherwise – until I would remember that they were my work – and pleasure. To view their needs and wants as interruptions interfered with that pleasure. Read more…
This parenting thing is not easy. Just when you think you may be getting it right, and your children are on their way to becoming civilized adults, able to carry on an intelligent conversation, help around the house without supervision, and verbally acknowledge your worth in their lives – they leave!
No longer are you the most important person in their lives. They have needed you for so long, and you have needed them to need you. How do you overcome this Syndrome they call The Empty Nest? The following is certainly not an inclusive list, but maybe it’ll give you a new perspective. Read more…