KimN ~ The Glass Castle

13 10 2009

The Glass Castle ~ Jeannette Walls

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I’ve had a few people recommend this book to me and I don’t think I have EVER read a memoir before… the first 15 pages (which I read last night) were very intriguing…

Now I’m going to make a mug of steaming apple cider (its the first day of October but it already feels like winter and its freezing!!) and hunker down with this book for the evening.

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Oct 13 – I finished this book on Thursday and absolutely loved it!  As I said, it was probably the first memoir I’ve ever read.  I don’t even know how to start writing out my thoughts on this book… I have so many!  The novel opens with a successful, grow-up Jeannette spotting her homeless mother rifling through a garbage bin.  Then Walls switches gears and takes you back to her childhood, starting at the age of 3.  It is hard to imagine growing up in the Walls household, with a father who spends his money on booze and parts for his elaborate inventions, and a mother who would rather focus on her artistic career (if you could call it that…) than use her teaching certificate to work and provide for her family.  Although their parent’s priorities were all wrong, the Walls children found ways to get by and made life an adventure as they moved throughout the country, living wherever they could find room.  It is interesting to read Jeannette’s take on how each of her siblings adjusted to life.

I really enjoyed how Walls chose to format the novel – it is a series of short stories or excerpts.  This makes it really easy to pick up and read, and it was interesting how the excerpts all tied together even though Walls didn’t use many transitions at the beginning or endings of the excerpts.

I would highly recommend this tale of the resilience of the Walls children in the face of a number of odds.  The success of this novel alone is a true testament to the drive and determination of Jeannette Walls to overcome the experiences and living arrangments of their childhood.

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KimN ~ Mistaken Identity

24 05 2009

Mistaken Identity ~ True Story written by the families involved

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I first heard about this book from my Auntie Joyce a couple of months ago, she highly recommended it and everyone at the table at the time had heard of the story in the news in April/May 2006 except for a few of us (me included! note to self – watch the news more!).  A couple weeks later my brother’s girlfriend, Brittany, came back from a trip to Ontario with a copy of the book that she said I just had to read!  I was warned that it was a teary read, so I didn’t take it on our recent trip – crying on the airplane ride to Texas next to people I don’t know… probably not the best idea!  I finished up The Other Boleyn Girl and picked this book up on Monday – I haven’t put it down since, I’m over half-way already… its a wonderful, encouraging, heart-breaking story.  I’d better stop here… I’m not finished reading it yet!

3 evenings later I finished this book.  Wow, I really could NOT put this book down… and lost some sleep over it.  I have to admit that at first I was a little skeptical about this book because it was written by the the parents (amateurs) with the help of Mark Tabb (a writer)… so I wasn’t expecting much more beyond the details of the story.  BUT… the way the book was written is so engaging!  The Van Ryn family had chosen to use a blog while they were taking care of “their daughter” in the hospital after the accident, as a way to update family and friends on her status.  The book uses excerpts of their blog posts to move the storyline along… it is very moving as these are the real thoughts and words and not just a recollection of how they felt at the time.  Very moving!

I was totally amazed by the way that both the Van Ryn’s and Cerak’s reacted to their initial situations, and then again to the realization that their daughter’s identities were mistaken for each other.  Their strength & faith in God was just an amazing testament to the power of God & the Holy Spirit.  I can’t even imagine the numerous ways that these 2 families experiences and reactions have impacted people all over the world for the Lord!  With this book there is no question that their influence will continue.  If you are looking for a true testament of love and God’s grace I would suggest that you pick up this book.