Sunday, October 15, 2006

"W" Author-Based A ~ Z Reads

Jeannette Walls ~ BLBC
Personal Rating: 4.5/5

WOW! While the memoir, in and of itself, was quite the story, I was most impressed with the writing. The details and descriptions allowed me to be one of the many flies on the wall, and the non-stop activity that occurred, chapter after chapter, certainly made this a page-turner.

Jeannette presented herself as a tough cookie throughout the book. She does everything in her power to change situations and make things better for herself and her family, but I never sensed a deep or lasting emotion of any kind. Time and time again, I was reacting to a situation much stronger than she did and for the amount of turmoil presented in Jeannette's life, I wonder if she was just numb or in denial.

The sharing of her experience in this book has introduced me to another segment of our society that I was not too familiar with. It was a shocking eye-opener at times, but I have now been enlightened. I'm not sure whether the ending left me unsatisfied or I was just yearning for more; either way it was a well-written memoir of very courageous children.

I'm still wondering how Child Protective Services let those children literally fall through the cracks.


  1. I read this a year or so ago and was stunned that the children were so neglected without any intervention by CPS. The scene with Jeannette boiling her own hot dogs at such a young age just about did me in! Of course, as with any memoir, the reliability of the author's memory has to be subject to question, don't you think? I'm not saying she isn't a reliable author, but memory does tend to play tricks on you and what you may think happened when you were 3 or 4 may have really happened much later (or even to a sibling and not you). You've read Blackbird, right? I think I remember you mentioning it. If not, you'd probably like it, too.

  2. Hi, Joy!

    Thank you for the review. I have this book on my shelf, but unfortunately haven't read it yet because the James Frey brouhaha occured shortly after I bought it (I haven't been able to get into memoirs, especially memoirs that have a slightly unreal feeling to them, after the Frey incident). Maybe one day I will again, but for now I have enjoyed reading your review.

  3. Our book club chose this for one of our reads this year (I can't remember which month right now.) My mother, who's also in the club, was telling me pieces from this book about the girl sneaking garbage at lunch because she doesn't have any of her tears my heart up. I will read it later this year; thanks for posting information on it now which helps pave the way.

  4. So this is about child abuse or just neglect? I've heard about this book via one of my booklists, but it's a casual list w/o reviews. Sounds fascinating but upsetting. A friend of mine is a child psychologist and has written a book on abuse; I've read all his other books and still can't get myself to crack the child abuse book!

  5. Bookfool ~ Abuse can wear many different hats, neglect being one of them. Are you asking if there was physical punishment? If so, no. Actually, I'm vaguely remembering one incident, but that's not the focus at all. Neglect soars high on this one!

  6. I totally agree with your sentiments on how did these children slip through the cracks with Child Services as I was often thinking the same thing as I was reading the book. A great read that I would recommend to others as well.


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