The Enlightenment of a Hedonistic Adolescent
I can gladly say that The Glass Castle, a memoir of Jeannette Walls’ deplorable childhood caused by her alcoholic father and slipshod mother has changed the way I look at my life. The most prevalent insight that I gained from The Glass Castle is the sorry plight of poverty. The phrase “you have no idea how lucky you are” has been a hackneyed expression of my fathers for as long as I can remember. To be honest, as a spoiled twenty-first century adolescent, the phrase didn’t mean much. The Glass Castle helped me comprehend how opportune and fortuitous my life is. This tragic memoir furthermore helped me gain insight into the downfall of an alcoholic father and the devastation of domestic abuse. By the end of the second chapter, I found myself hoping and wishing that the father, Rex Walls, would find salvation and take advantage of the Walls’ perpetual state of forgiveness. Jeannette’s memoir helped me conceive how privileged I am through her fight against her ill-fated childhood.
While reading about Jeanette’s teenage years filled with hardships of physical and mental trauma, I couldn’t help but think about how fortunate I am. Even imagining myself living in Jeannette’s nightmare of a childhood is nearly impossible. Although my living situation is almost a polar opposite to that of Jeanette, in this case the most drastic differences between people have the greatest impact. Growing up in jaded, self-indulgent suburbia where things aren’t wanted, but expected, has dulled my senses almost past the
point of repair. The heart-wrenching memoir of Jeanette in The Glass Castle provoked the long lost feelings of thankfulness, patience, and worth. Until I detach myself from the mindset of a pampered teen, I can honestly say that I “have no idea how lucky I am.”
Except for the occasional family life power point or celebrity rehab visit, my exposure to the effects alcoholism has been infinitesimal. In The Glass...