Another book I took on my recent travels, which made the five and a half hour journey from Santiago, Chile to Rapa Nui much more pleasant, was the oft tauted Jeannette Walls memoir “The Glass Castle.”

It had been recommended to me as an intriguing look at how one woman comes to accept her very dysfunctional parents. As I began reading, the “very” of this dysfunction seemed often inflated, exaggerated, untrue–a thought due less to Walls and more to James Frey’s invented “memoir.” From her mother hoarding a chocolate bar while the rest of the family ate nothing, to the monthly food budget continually drained by her father’s drinking, and of course watching Jeannette and her siblings raise themselves, Walls’ true story was mesmerizing, at times repugnant, and amazing in its life-like-a-novel moments.

Though not life changing, and not a book I would read again–in fact I gave it away to friends in Argentina–it did make me think about how one must accept others for who they are while also standing up for the way you want life to be, and caring for your own wellbeing. After all, no matter how caring your support system, ultimately it’s up to you to take care of yourself, physically and emotionally.

You can read the first lines of The Glass Castle in this previous post.