The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Summary ~ Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town — and the family — Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.

CRAZY!  This memoir is CRAZY!  Crazy bad but wicked good.  The Glass Castle is a memoir that reads like fiction because you keep saying to yourself this is too horrible to have really happened.  Well, Jeannette Walls and her three siblings, Lori, Brian and Maureen lived it and you can read all about it in Jeannette Walls’ disturbing memoir. 

What did they live through?  Their parents crazy antics, irresponsible parenting (really no parenting when it counted), gypsy lifestyle and hellish living conditions around the country.  My eyes hurt from rolling them in annoyance at Rose Mary & Rex Walls!  Continuing to have children but no sense of civilian responsibilities or even a desire for a “normal” life infuriated me.  Subjecting their children to a life of scattered “homes”, taking them in and out of schools and “skedaddling” from town to town in the middle of the night because of Rex’s conspiracy theories and not addressing sex abuse when their children were honestly reporting serious situations just made me more upset. 

It’s hard to really “review” The Glass Castle because it’s not a work of fiction but true accounts of a family’s life.  All I can say is The Glass Castle is worth the time it takes to read it (a fairly quick read really) and I promise you it will disturb you if you are a functioning citizen of American society and have any lick of common sense and ethic compass. 

{Rating ~ 4 out of 5}

Book Review ~ Uncharted TerriTORI by Tori Spelling

uncharted terriTORI

Summary ~ Welcome to Los Angeles, birthplace and residence of Tori Spelling.

It’s not every Hollywood starlet whose name greets you on a Virgin Airways flight into la-la land. But Tori Spelling has come to accept that her life is a spectacle. Her name is her brand, and business is booming. Too bad when your job is to be yourself, you can’t exactly take a break.

Tori finally has everything she thought she wanted—a loving family and a successful career—but trying to live a normal life in Hollywood is a little weird. With the irresistible wit, attitude, and humor that fans have come to love, the New York Times bestselling author of sTORI telling and Mommywood is back with more hilarious, heartwarming, and candid stories of juggling work, marriage, motherhood, and reality television cameras.

Tori comes clean about doing her time on jury duty, stalking herself on Twitter, discovering her former 90210 castmates’ “I Hate Tori” club, contracting swine flu, and contacting Farrah Fawcett from the dead. Like many mothers, she struggles to find balance (Stars, they’re just like us!)—only most women don’t have to battle it out with paparazzi at the grocery store. She talks openly about the darker side of life in the spotlight: media scrutiny over her weight and her marriage to Dean McDermott, her controversial relationship with Dean’s ex-wife, and her unfolding reconciliation with her mother.

Having it all isn’t always easy—especially when you’re a perfectionist—but with the help of her unconventional family and friends, an underwear-clad spiritual cleansing or two, and faith in herself, she’s learning to find her happy ending. Because when you’re Tori Spelling, every day brings uncharted terriTORI.***

I have a secret.  I’ll bet some of you may even have the same one I have!  I LOVE Tori Spelling and have taken it past watching ther adorable and fun reality show to reading her latest memoir, Uncharted TerriTORI.  Yup!  You read that right.  I just read, and immensley enjoyed Tori Spelling’s new book.  Hubby thinks he’s losing me to the world of reality television and he even thinks that I say, “Love ya Babe!” because Tori & her husband Dean say that on their show.  (My question to Hubby may be how does he remember that if he doesn’t pay attention when I’m watching the show and he goes downstairs into the ‘man cave’?)  I can’t help myself when it comes to reality television!  I love it all, from Tori & Dean to The Bachelorette and The Real Housewives of NYC & NJ and I enjoy the laughs and gasps these shows provide me.

Reading Uncharted TerriTORI gives the reader a behind-the-scenes look into Tori Spelling’s life and a much more detailed understanding of her inner monologue, fears, joys and frustrations.  Tori turns out to be so “normal” and even more likeable than she already appears to be on her Oxygen Channel shows.  Tori loves her family, loves her businesses and still faces all the same challenges us “normal” people do but on a much bigger scale at times.  it’s fun hanging out with Tori as you read Uncharted TerriTORI and after finishing the last page and looking at all the family photos just helped seal the fact that I really like Tori Spelling and admire her and all she is able to accomplish in her busy Hollywood/but still normal everyday life.

I like that the co-writer and editor on Uncharted TerriTORI kept the words and vibe true and uniquely Tori.  At least what I feel to be Tori based on watching her reality shows and seeing her in interviews and co-hosting The View.

{Rating ~ 4 out of 5}



My War…

I have been scouring the web for any type of reading guide for the Jan/Feb reading selection, “My War ~ Killing Time In Iraq” by Colby Buzzell and have had little luck.  I did come across a review by Matthew Hill at the University of Maryland  as well as a great article from The New York Times called The Hemmingway Effect which discusses the troops turned writers due to their experiences in war.  Colby Buzzell himself is now a columnist for Esquire Magazine .  He’s got one article titled “The Best Years of Our Lives” which was an interesting read about life after deployment and the Army and looking at life now. 

I enjoyed this book and feel that it gave me a little more insight on the experiences going on in Iraq.  I liked reading about the day to day stuff that the troops do and the dangers that their lives entail while carrying out the “War on Terror”.  I know that it’s been a while since you finished this book but please reiterate your opinion on this book and what you took from it. 

I will be posting the new voting poll this weekend for the March/April title so be sure to check back here soon. 

Book Review ~ My War… Killing Time In Iraq

First of all I would like to say….. Congrats to the GIANTS!!  My mantra of the weekend was “Anybody But The Pats….. Go Giants!”. 

I finished “My War… Killing Time In Iraq” by Colby Buzzell over the weekend.  I really liked it though I was ready to move on to a new book about 3/4 of the way through just because it felt like I had been reading it forever.  I was impressed with the writing style and ability of a dead beat guy who joined the Army because he needed to do something substantial with his life at the time.  You can’t judge a person by their cover though.  I found the stories of an Iraq deployment very interesting and sometimes horrifying but reading this book gave me an even stronger sense of pride and admiration for our Troops over seas and on deployments who voluntarily place themselves in harms way for our great country. 

I was enthralled with the twelve page telling of the battle in Mosul where some of Buzzell’s fellow soldiers sustained extreme injuries.  To know that the family members where able to get so much more information out of Buzzell’s blog than the Army and press were telling and that that outlet has been squelched by the Military (though for reasons of OPSEC I do understand) so families today don’t get as much info on the brave things that their sons and daughters have done is eye opening.

I was a bit disheartened that during the 2004 election Buzzell reported that most of his fellow Soldiers were not voting because either way they felt that either way they were screwed.  To feel like a pawn in a world wide game of Chess and to know that these pawns are dying and being injured in such grave ways is unimaginable to me.  I hope for an end to this war comes sooner than later and I also hope that the new surge of Troops on deployments feel a bit better about this election than those of the 2004 election deployments. 

I will post some questions and anything else I can find regarding this book in the last week of February as well as a new voting poll for our March/April book. 

An update on my choice for my next read… I had mentioned last week that I was watching Showtime’s “The Tudor’s” on DVD and that I was really excited to read “The Other Boleyn Girl” by Philippa Gregory.  Well I started reading it but found my mind’s eye distracting myself from the story on the page with visions from the DVD.  I decided to revisit this book at a later date and pick “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett back up after putting it down before Christmas.  I started reading it again last night and stayed up a lot longer than planned because of the excitement of a fire.  I will be having lunch with two ladies this week who have been reading this book and that will be a great way to stick with this title.  I’ll let you know how our lunch and conversation goes. 

And the October Book Is….

The Year of Magical Thinking

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion with 58% of the vote.  This is a true story written by a woman about the year following the death of her husband.  I have had a copy of this book on my shelf for a few months now and am looking forward to reading it with you. 

This book was recently made into a play that is playing on Broadway staring Vanessa Redgrave.  I would love to see this show but being that I live in Okinawa right now, I don’t see that happening.  I also came across an article in the New York Times about this book.  In it the columnist assures us that though the book is about tragic events that occurred in this woman’s family, it is an uplifting and inspiring read. 

I hope you enjoy it.  I also hope that for those of you who voted for one of the other selections this month, that you find the time to read that book too.