I first read Jeannette Walls’ memoir The Glass Castle several years ago (I reviewed it and its semi-prequel, Half Broke Horses, in one of the first Words From The Sowul posts). I still think about it a lot; I find it on my mind much more than other books I read during the same period. Beyond the excellent writing, this book provided me with a very profound eye-opening experience. Until I read this book, I didn’t realize- didn’t truly know– that there were people in my generation, living just a few hours away from me, who were experiencing such abject poverty and constant familial trauma. (Yes, I can admit to being naive.)
There’s a piece of writing advice that suggests the author should think about the emotion she wants the reader to feel upon reading, and write from that emotion. I don’t know if this was Jeannette Walls’ process, but if she wanted her reader to feel intense gratitude, she succeeded. I challenge anyone who’s had a normal or even slightly below-average childhood not to feel grateful while reading this book. Walls and her siblings had literally nothing, sometimes not even the clothes on their backs, and they spent their childhoods taking responsibility for each of their completely insane and irresponsible parents. When I think of what Walls accomplished to rise above her situation, I am humbled. When I think about everything I had that she didn’t, including a warm home, good food, and loving, supportive parents, I feel intensely grateful.
What memoir or other true story inspired you to feel gratitude?
This post is part of a mini-series on gratitude. You can find previous posts here:
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