Growing up in a similar time as this author there were some similarities to my own childhood in this book. Of course my parents weren't as alcoholic or neglectful. But the wildness and runnign the streets and making up war games in the woods I think we all did. We ran a lot wilder as kids in the 60's than kids do now.
They say it was a safer time in history but really it wasn't. There were pedophiles and creepies running rampant in neighborhoods back then too. Child crimes just weren't publicized in the media like they are now thankfully to keep our children more protected.
Our kids are so protected that we don't allow them to run free like we did. To ride off on bike ride adventures miles away from our homes. To play night games of kick the can and hide and seek. We had kid "gangs" that hung out after dark around the street light poles and though we did get into a lot of mischief we stayed just short of being truly criminal.
This book comes very close to some of the wilder things we did as kids in the 60's. I loved this book and read it over two times. I highly advise you to read Jeanette's unvarnished story of her
excentric (neglected) childhood and eventual escape to a successful life.
After all you need to know what bad really is before you can really find good...
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
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. West Virginia
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.
Buy this book!