Real life can occasionally be more amazing than a movie. When she first began to consider it, Jeannette Walls may have believed that her life narrative would make an excellent book because she was already an accomplished journalist and author. She did this to publish The Glass Castle, which was then turned into a movie in 2017. This essay will summarize her remarkable true story and explain the significance of both her book and the movie.
You can watch the official trailer for The Glass Castle here on Youtube.
The Glass Castle: a true story by Jeannette Walls
Jeannette Walls’ memoir, The Glass Castle, was released in 2005. It was a huge editorial success and spent more than five years as a best seller on The New York Times list. A film based on the book with the same title and starring Naomi Watts, Woody Harrelson, and Brie Larson was released in 2017.
The protagonist Jeannette Walls’ real-life story is told in the book (and film) The Glass House. She had a nomadic upbringing and grew up in a dysfunctional home; she also experienced marital violence and physical abuse, which made her want to run out on her own. When she was old enough, she moved away from her family and began working as a journalist in New York, making her life worthwhile.
Her father has spent their entire lives losing jobs, while her mother was a painter. Both of my parents had a keen intellect and the ability to think critically. But they nonetheless made the decision to live outside of mainstream society as outcasts. Although they adored their kids, the father had a serious drinking problem, and the mother was powerless to demand better living circumstances. In this environment, Jeannette Walls learned early on that the kids needed to take care of themselves because they wouldn’t have any reliable guidance. When she was old enough, Jeannette moved to New York and began working as a journalist. She wrote The Glass, a book on her true tale, as part of her writing career.
As we watch the film, it becomes abundantly evident how exceptional Jeannette’s life has been. Jeannette Walls grew up separated from her parents and attributed her rough childhood to them. She has always known that her parents love her very much, though. She also acknowledges the good traits her parents instilled in all of their offspring. She calls her father the most intelligent and idealistic person she knows. In actuality, his greatest fantasy is “The Glass Castle”: residing in a glass castle he built where he and his family can always view the sky at any time of the day.
The Glass Castle is based on a true story, and both the Jeannette Walls book and the movie both contain significant meanings. We have the possibility to comprehend the causes of the Walls family’s decision to live outside of society: contemporary societal norms impose a way of life that can easily turn into a prison, where the logic of money obliterates the joy of natural living. Taking this stance to its logical conclusion, we can also see why Jeannette Walls develops the need to fit in with society on her own: we follow social norms because we need to feel safe, and society’s structure provides us with a secure framework into which we can fit and feel a part of.
As we discover at the end of The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls and her siblings are now perfectly integrated into society. They don’t miss the tough moments of their lives, especially the ones involving violence and physical abuse (because of these elements, the book was among the most banned and challenged books in the United States). But they are also aware of the good memories they have from their childhood, and they can feel grateful for what they had.
Below you can find an interview where Jeannette Walls talks about her life and book: her words make the perfect commentary to the movie scenes.