The Glass Castle
is a 2005 memoir written by Jeannette Walls detailing her childhood being raised by her dysfunctional parents, Rex and Rose Mary alongside her siblings, Lori, Brian, and Maureen. The Walls Family lives in perpetual poverty due to Rex's alcoholism and Rose's refusal to get a job, with the children often practically caring for one another.
The Glass Castle contains examples of:
- The Alcoholic: Rex is this, with disastrous results for his family
- The Alleged Car: Because of their limited cash, the Walls family often winds up buying cars that break down soon after. One is a car called the 'Piggy Bank Special' that Rose Mary finds through a radio show. She isn't allowed to test drive before going home. So the family ends up driving from Phoenix to West Virginia in a car that breaks down repeatedly on the way, has a hood that keeps popping up and has one of the windows stuck open.
- Attempted Rape: Billy, Jeannette's self-proclaimed boyfriend, attempts this on her. She's nine at the time.
- Blind Without 'Em: Lori and Rose Mary, although the former doesn't realize this until much later in life and the latter refuses to wear them anyways
- Creepy Uncle: Uncle Stanley is one;after he attempts to molest her, Jeannette refuses to continue going to his house to bathe, even though she has no other access to running water.
- Eyebrows Burned Off: Happens to Jeannette at the beginning when she catches on fire while trying to cook hot dogs; this is not, however, played for laughs, as she also ends up with severe burn injuries that require skin grafts.
- Hands-Off Parenting: Rex and Rose Mary practice this.
- Going Cold Turkey: Rex does this when Jeannette asks him to stop drinking as a birthday present to her. He goes as far as to tie himself to his bed and spends several days screaming and hallucinating. He does stop drinking for awhile, but before long picks it up again.
- Misery Lit: Unusual, in that she never describes her childhood as miserable or even damaging, refuses to vilify her parents, and is really more a memoir of total dysfunction than abuse. A notch above most?
- Pyromaniac: Jeannette becomes obsessed with fire after her previously mentioned encounter, setting various things on fire, even her favorite toy, although she immediately regrets this, and she eventually grows out of it.