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.
It was announced in 2013 that Paramount Pictures
had bought film rights to the book, which would be actress Jennifer Lawrence
's first producing endeavor in addition to her signing up to play Jeannette Walls. Claire Danes
and Mark Ruffalo
also have been cast as Rose Mary and Rex Walls respectively.
The Glass Castle contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: While both parents for the most part avoided physically harming their children out of anger at their full capacities, Rex caused quite a bit commotion every time he came home drunk and destroyed the house. Rose Mary also found herself in slumps every now and then in Welch, which occasionally constituted to her throwing things at her children. Also their methods of parenting go beyond being extremely questionable, and as stated above, the children ended up taking care of themselves throughout their childhood far more than their parents did.
- The Alcoholic: Rex becomes this supposedly after the death of his infant daughter Mary. The effects of his alcoholism prove disastrous 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.
- Black Best Friend: Dinitia becomes the closest thing to a friend that Jeannette gets, inviting her to a day at the pool that Jeanette later calls the most fun she had in Welch. Due to the area's heavily racist environment though, their friendship doesn't last long, and Dinitia ends up heading down a bad path that fortunately Jeanette did not end up getting very prominently featured in.
- 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.
- Deadpan Snarker: Lori eventually adapts this attitude. Her mother refers to it as a "sarcastic streak".
- 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.
- Parental Neglect: The kids end up taking care of themselves more than their parents do. A noteworthy example of this trope comes to mind in Welch when Jeanette is approached by a government official asking to see one of her parents, neither of which are home.
- 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.
- Jerkass: Quite a few come to mind, such as the women in Welch who make it known to a few members of the Walls family that they spray the areas where they were with Lysol. Erma also falls into this category, though she has a complicated story.
- 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?
- Moral Myopia: Rex talks about preserving life and how nature must be respected. Yet at one point, he dangles his wife over a window.
- 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.