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Book Review: The Glass Castle – A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

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I read The Glass Castle – A Memoir last November while still living in North Las Vegas and had a very clear knowledge of the places Jeannette Walls spoke of in it.  Her eventual move to Welch, West Virginia, then took her close enough to Pittsburgh where I’d spent eight years. As the author described her surroundings, I mentally moved along with her. This helped me to relate fully to this book. But that's where the similarities ended.

This comes about as close as you’re going to get into the lives of white trailer trash, yet it is an intriguing story that kept me with it to the end. It took only the first few pages and I was hooked. After the next 20, I was somewhat unbelieving, yet still captivated. As I turned each page I wanted to dislike this tale of dysfunction at its worst and family survival at its best, but I kept reading.

However, having said that, there are blaring signs that the author embellished the telling of this story. The very lack of emotion as she relates more poignant moments suggests she’s taken a lot of poetic license in writing this book. It gave me that impression anyway. Telling of living in a small building without utilities through a winter and the building sliding down the mountainside — no feelings on that; it just happened. Or children coming by their home and taunting and calling out bad things; she didn’t have any feelings about this either, it seems.

I recall as a kid that I was upset if I even imagined someone doing that, but if they’d actually done it, I’m sure I’d have felt many things. And certainly if I was going to write a book on my life, I would take that opportunity to tell how I felt.

The author relates how hard it was to get through years of hunger, but never once describes how she felt at the time, i.e."‘my stomach hurt and I felt weak." Or, "I didn’t think I’d be able to sleep because my stomach was empty." These omissions, together with the author being able to quote verbatim whole conversations and dialogue from her earliest childhood, added to my disbelief. Can she possibly remember things that took place so long ago in such detail? There seems to be much fictionalizing along with her "memories." Perhaps she is her father’s daughter after all.

Which brings me to one more question. She relates her father was a prolific storyteller and was always scribbling down his thoughts. Then later on, her mother finds all these stories written down. Yet no publishing? No excerpts?

And, where are the photos? I know not all books are published with photos in them, but this is a memoir and Jeannette tells us there were pictures of them as dirty kids in the desert. Not even one on the book jacket?

The hardest part to swallow though, is that today she is married to writer John Taylor and currently working in New York City as a gossip columnist with MSNBC.com. She has also appeared regularly on television, including the Today Show, CNN, and PrimeTimeLive. She is enjoying a very privileged life today, yet her mother lives in destitution in the same city and she’s allowing her to live this way. Allowing her spiritual freedom? Really.

I wish Ms. Walls had been honest and titled her book “The highly fictionalized, loosely based memoir of my life”. Then I’d feel much better about calling it a biography.

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About This End Up

  • Kristina Ramey

    Trailer Trash. Interesting. Makes the arugment null and void in my opinion. Observations based through predjudice , no matter how educated , do not impress/sway me in the least.
    I can totally believe in Jeannette’s emotional indifference. Those children were not allowed to express any emotion growing up. If they did , it wouldn’t matter because their parents would retort some ergo intellectual absurdities and that would be that !
    Furthermore , my husband was born and raised in Logan , West Virginia and the lives of those children were no different than the unbelievable truths that have hailed from my husbands own mouth. I have been there myself and seen for myself.Fully loaded Semi Automatic weapons on couches within an arms reach of unsupervised toddlers. It is a different world. A sad repressed emotionless world where ordinary rules don’t apply and children have to fight and fend for their self everyday.
    My hat is off to Jeannette Walls for her motivation to rise above the hard life she was led to believe was “normal” and for allowing her mother to continue on her “adventure”. We all know that we cannot help anyone who does not want to help themselves.

  • Kristina;
    Please don’t misunderstand what I wrote & please don’t presume my comment was derived from prejudice; it wasn’t. The statement was made to project other’s perception of what trailer trash might be.

    I’ve already said I related to this book and that is because I lived near many of the places that Jeannette Walls lived. In fact, I was living in North Las Vegas when I read the book. I know the regions she spoke of very well and know the people of Nevada and West Virginia as well, having lived in southwestern Pennsylvania for eight years.

    The poverty in W. Virginia is heart-rending and the people stoic and tough. That wasn’t my issue. My issue was with her credibility, not that these things didn’t exist there. I questioned whether she experienced them as stated. And if so, how could she have done so without any documentation or no depth of feeling whatsoever?

    I know people of the desert. Many have moved away as long as 25 years ago and they still tell of the hardships of growing up in those areas. How hard it was to endure their everyday existence. What it was like going to school and trying to concentrate when they were so hungry they couldn’t absorb what the teacher was saying. Or being beaten up by the wealthier kids and wishing they had warmer clothing…nicer clothing. All these things were told with emotion so strong it is tangible. I got none of this from Jeanettes telling; she could have been writing out a grocery list for all the passion I found in her book.

    I myself had a very poor unbringing. So much so, that I quit school mid grade 9 to go out and work to help with things at home. I know little of a higher education and lots about poor. Enough to maybe even write a better book than this one.

  • chelsea 9th grade

    hello i really enjoyed your book it was very sad to me but i liked it because it wasnt some fake story it really happened it expresses the life that you had to live. i think that your a very strong woman who won’t stop until she gets what she wants, and thats what you have displayed by writing this book.dreams do come true and i believe yours did.

    love always chelsea

  • Brittany Pritchett

    I read the whole book in a day, finding it hard to put down. It hit close to home for me in several ways and I think if she would have written the book with tons of personal emotion she would have never finished it. You have to detach yourself from things sometimes to get through them. The truth is the truth and any emotion brought into it would have made it seem like she is still bitter. I think she has really worked it all out in her mind and come to a peace about her past. Kudos to someone who can live a life like that and see the positive rather than the negative.

  • Kate Bradshaw

    I think that you may be right on some points. I’m sure she embellished her story at least once while writing it. But I don’t think her lack of emotion while describing the events necessarily means she made them up. She had a very, VERY tough childhood. When you grow up from a childhood like that, with confused priorities and (when you get down to it) cruel parents, the only real way to cope with that is to shut your emotions off. I don’t claim to be a psychologist, I am speaking from personal experience. At some point, you stop being able to feel emotions when you recall scarring events. The only way to move past it is to say “that happened, it’s over, let’s learn from it”. That’s why I found I loved this book. It was so frank and honest, without any whining about how horrible it all was. Maybe some people were looking for a sob story, but this isn’t one. This is a story about a very tough woman, who has made it farther than anyone ever expected her to. Let’s not put her down for marrying and having a comfortable life. Remember, you can’t even begin to understand the things she went through. You claim to have had a poor childhood, and I’m sorry for that! But her childhood wasn’t poor–they were downright destitute. It’s not your fault that you can’t understand her lack of emotion, of course. But don’t criticize her for something you can never understand. I’m done with my rant, now. Thank you for listening.

  • Kate;
    Believe me when I say I know everything you’re saying and my observation wasn’t so much a criticism as it was just plain dubiousness. I think you’ve summed up very well what we do if our childhoods are less than ideal. We do tend to shut out unpleasant things, & yes, we do put them behind us and move on in life. But not if we’re bringing them back to the forefront and writing them into a book that we’ve chosen to write. You can’t relive these types of things no matter how tough we are without some modicum of emotion breaking through; especially if you are having to tell it again in detail for a book.

    I did have a poor childhood but it wasn’t the sort that left me wanting to write a book about it. I came out of it unscathed and relatively happy. And we were pretty poor in the literal sense; not dysfunctional, but just penny poor. Most of anything I would tell about would actually be more funny that bitter or sad.

    As for her ‘allowing’ her mother to root through trash bins on the streets of NYC, I still can’t swallow that she’s just “letting Mom continue her adventure”. That’s like saying addicts families should allow their loved ones to continue their adventures too. It doesn’t work for me. When family members need help, we try to do get them that help against all odds.

  • Mia

    Read Glass Castle. Wrote my memoir in the following two months. I worked very hard at leaving my emotions out of the childhood experience. I didn’t embellish. Having written it, I can argue Jeanette is no Liar. Why must writing be an emotional hashing? We had hard times; I wrote them funny, bitter and intense. It’s not really difficult leaving therapy aside. I rather enjoyed it. That was one of the very reasons I love Jeanette’s book–a romp through the bizarre as though it’s all so very normal. yep. Mia

  • KJM

    But her childhood wasn’t poor–they were downright destitute…another poster said.

    Actually, they had a comfortable home they inherited but walked away from it. Father quit job after job or was fired. Mother was self absorbed and did not WANT to work. Mother had land and jewelry she could have sold, but did not want to.
    Now, how many of you who grew up poor, can say those things? Not many.
    They were NOT destitute. Her parents CHOSE that life, just as her mother still does. There is a difference.

  • Mia & KJM…
    First Mia – I hesitated to respond to your comments because we all deal with things in our own ways.

    I understand if you’ve chosen to leave your emotions out of your bio when you wrote, then you can relate to Jeanette & see her as being truthful. And I really didn’t flat out say she was a liar – I said she was embellishing the truth which, if we’re nit-picking, I suppose could be saying someone’s a liar. That’s a harsh title though, because we all tend to embellish a bit when relating something we want to make an impact with.

    But she was writing a book about how terrible her life was. And how they suffered one thing after another for whatever reasons. She says (in an interview) that she tells her story with great empathy and compassion. Really?

    If you’re going for impact then you don’t avoid how you felt while telling something. Even if you tried to remain calm and removed while writing, it’s not going to happen as you relive these things. Unless of course you’re totally zombied on something and we all know Jeanette isn’t.

    There are other things that are just too silly to believe, rich or poor. Like trying to make braces for her teeth because they were crooked. Any kid I’ve met that was walking barefoot to school in winter snow, wasn’t worried about whether they were going to grow up with straight teeth!

    She talks about people in Nevada taking pictures of the ratty kids and when she looks at them now it tears her up inside. If she has them why weren’t they included in her personal narrative? It seems to me they would have the biggest impact to show how far she’s come?

    Like KJM said, they had opportunities that so many ‘poor people’ didn’t and the mother decides a life on the streets rooting through garbage was the life she preferred. Does this not smack of deep emotional problems or even insanity? And if you were well-known, well paid,and well-to-do like Jeannette is and you waved off your mothers life style as being a free spirit, I say you’re either lying in your book or you’re someone who shouldn’t be earning money from writing that line.

    Since I wrote this review some months back, I’ve had the opportunity to see another interview with Jeannette. In this interview we also learned that there wasn’t one person in Jeanettes life up until she married that had even an inkling of her childhood. Living in the spotlight like she does, don’t you find that a bit odd in this day and age?

    Her husband was the person who encouraged her to write a book about her life.

  • carolina Franco

    Your reaction to this book strikes as overly emotional. Many people are quite removed from their feelings and cope with hard situations by intellectualizing. I have seen jeannette in interviews and she doesn’t seem to be a very affected person. Which matches her writing style quite well. Maybe she is able to remember so many details because she is not lost in the emotion of the moment.
    I too had a very difficult childhood but because I was so lost in my feelings I can not give so much detail.
    I wish she had included photos but I saw a video of her mother and she certainly matched the character I read about in the book.
    Also why should her personal life be public knowledge, she is not madonna and she didn’t commit murder.
    The fact that her past was not exposed before is not evidence of lying to me.

  • Jessica

    I agree with Ginger that you seem a little over emotional.

    I had a troubling childhood myself, with similar experiences to Jeannette in terms of neglect and lifestyle, and can relate very much to her story and to the way that she tells it.

    I went to university and have a great job, and am married to an engineer. I have money and a house, and both of my parents are homeless and severe drug addicts in the same city as me (Toronto). I grew up taking care of myself and my siblings, and seeing horrible things, and having horrible things done to me. Today I have my own life and my own family, and have accepted that my parents will most likely always be the way they are, because only they can help themselves. You can’t force people to change, and you can’t control them.

    It’s true, it’s just the way it was / is. And when you live it, it’s normal, even when you know as a child that it’s not.

    You can’t relate to the book on that level, and find it hard to believe, because you didn’t go through anything like that. You say yourself that if you wrote a book about your life it would be upbeat and funny, because you were poor, but not neglected, and seem to have had a happy childhood with a functional family. There’s a big difference.

    Everyone experiences things differently, even you acknowledge this, but you seem to not be able to accept this, as you still have expectations about the way one should feel about their own memories and experiences, and even the way they would choose to write about them. Even the fact that she didn’t include certain pictures bothers you…

    I think that you just don’t understand, and can’t accept this fact, and so want to believe that the author must be embellishing (um, living near a certain place, or knowing people who live there, is NOT the same as experiencing it yourself for your entire life).

    Perhaps your reaction to the book is simply evidence that you are actually quite disturbed by it, and wish that the author had shared more.

  • Jessica

    Oops, I meant that I agree with Carolina Franco.

  • b

    It’s unfair to make false accusations that she completely embellished the story when you have absolutely no proof of it besides the fact that you lived in similar places as her (which she obviously lived in as a child, so please excuse her for not having every detail correct)and because of the fact that you were also poor. I believe that it is downright wrong that your judgement on this book is so biased because you are trying to relate it to you’re life, when you should look at the book and it’s quality as a whole. Also you talk about the fact that she doesn’t show emotion. It became apparent to me in the early stages of reading this book that it was not to complain, saying things such as “I felt so weak and hungry”, but simply to inform the readers of what happened. It is perhaps possible that she doesn’t even remember the times she felt that way or it is also possible that she felt that way so often that there was no use in mentioning it. She, as an author, I’m sure had reasoning behind her style of writing and if she feels as if it’s not necessary to include minute details that is her prerogative.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    It’s funny this book is still being discussed as truth or not. The book was written some long time ago and has never been disproved as true memoir. As far as I am concerned, the issues is long closed. Walls wrote her story; even her siblings, as far as I know, have not disproved it. It may seem fantastic, but I think we all know that truth can indeed be stranger than fiction.

  • [quoting B] –
    [It’s unfair to make false accusations that she completely embellished the story when you have absolutely no proof of it besides the fact that you lived in similar places as her (which she obviously lived in as a child, so please excuse her for not having every detail correct)and because of the fact that you were also poor. I believe that it is downright wrong that your judgement on this book is so biased because you are trying to relate it to you’re life, when you should look at the book and it’s quality as a whole.]

    Why do you think I’m being unfair for saying how I felt about a book? Isn’t that what book critics do?
    And how do you know that I’m making false accusations when, [to quote you again], you have absolutely no proof of it”?

    None of us have any sure way of knowing whether she embellished or was perfectly honest, anymore than you know whether I’m right or wrong in feeling the way I do about the book. I did say I enjoyed the book, don’t forget. I just had a problem with it being called a memoir because she could have easily written it as a fictional book based on events in her childhood, but she chose to say it was a memoir and all contents being true. The book has invoked a lot of feelings from a lot of reader – which is why, Lisa, we’re still talking about it. =)

    My feeling was that she missed the mark in being believable by being too matter of fact about some of the really heavy stuff. Now I know you’re going to argue that it was ‘the only way she could get through those years’, but having read many autobiographies and memoirs and listening to the author tell of reliving those years to get the book written, bad events come back to them like a sledgehammer to the brain. I just can’t buy Walls blasé in telling her story today.
    As an example, she talked about the book in an interview after it was finished & when asked if other family members remembered things the way she did, she said of her brother Brian –
    It’s interesting, because we remembered some of the same events, but had different takes on them. For example, I think of the cheetah as being a gorgeous, powerful beast with rippling muscles. Brian said, “As I remember, that was as a sort mangy creature.” I ran that by Mom and she said, “It was both, but it wasn’t inside a cage. It was just walking around the zoo.” People remember the same things differently, and if Brian or my sisters had written the book, it would be entirely different.
    I have no doubt.

  • chloe

    ginger, your main argument is that jeannette lacks passion and emotion, and yet if you read the book, you will note that the only way that the walls found that they could cope with their struggles was to shut out their emotions. it was a way to get through their many obstacles, and yet you criticize her and claim that she is fictionalizing her memoir. cant you simply accept the fact that jeannette has overcame so much, and although her mother is homeless, that is her life, and i am sure that if she wished to have a more successful life, she very well could. it cant be nice to see all these people disagreeing with your testimony that “the glass castle” is, as you so politely put it, “The highly fictionalized, loosely based memoir of my life”.

  • chloe –
    >>it cant be nice to see all these people disagreeing with your testimony that “the glass castle” is, as you so politely put it, “The highly fictionalized, loosely based memoir of my life”.< < Actually it doesn't bother me one whit! I wrote the review/critique/commentary on the book based on how I personally felt about it, not to win popularity contests. The fact that others feel differently is quite fine by me. In fact, I expect they would because the book in my opinion was written to extract the exact responses it’s getting. Still doesn’t make it true however. I wasn’t trying to change anyone’s mind – I was stating how I felt about her book. There have been many books written to elicit those same feelings but they don’t profess to be the honest truth. Little Women, Angela’s Ashes, Gone With The Wind…Terms of Endearment…et al.

    And please don’t take offense at this, but this statement you made is incredibly naive – “cant you simply accept the fact that jeannette has overcame so much, and although her mother is homeless, that is her life, and i am sure that if she wished to have a more successful life, she very well could.

    How do you propose she do that? If her own daughter, with all her money doesn’t make efforts to pay for the help she needs to get well & off the streets eating out of dumpsters, then who? The shelters, the kitchens & churches are absolutely stressed to the max trying to take care of these unfortunate people that are out there & Ms. Wall, who has undoubtedly made gobs of money from her novelette by now, won’t cough up enough money to help her own mother? If we are to believe all this, I mean.

    Chloe, I have worked with the organizations in NY & in Philadelphia & my husband & I are doing so right now over the holidays. There are none – N.O.N.E., who prefer that life to one affording them the pure animal comforts like warm clothing & a clean bed to sleep in.

    Volunteer your services over this holiday season why don’t you? It’s quite an education. Then come back & tell me again (providing we’re to believe the book) just how much respect you have for a woman who can leave her mother on the streets of NYC. If you still do after all that, then maybe I have you pegged wrong.

  • Bella

    I’m in ninth grade and I read this book for an English project, and loved it. It didn’t once cross my mind that her writings or memories were false, and I was blown away by her honest and blunt writing style. I agree with Chloe in thinking that the reason her book lacks passion and emotion is that she grew up without judgement and emotion. I really loved and was touched by “The Glass Castle”, and I appreciate that Jeannette Walls had the courage to tell her story to the world. I also appreciate how you have stuck by your opinions, but I don’t think you are right in saying that “The Glass Castle” was fictionalized.

  • Ginger Haycox

    Thanks for your comment Bella. I may someday read the book over & feel differently, but whether I do or I don’t, matters little here. This was how I felt after I read it & this was what I posted…my feelings about what I’d read.

    I did find the book fascinating. It was a good story read & it is also a story none of us will ever know for sure is true or false, so we’re left with only our impressions.

    You are gracious in allowing me my opinion & I allow you yours. Thanks. =)

  • Ginger Haycox

    I read all these more recent comments this morning & have been thinking on them ever since. What I have read doesn’t surprise me, but if I might add just a bit more to them?

    There is more than just my doubt as to the veracity of Walls’s memoir out there, just to set some peoples records straight. The book has been questioned by psychologists & therapists alike & has been found a bit far-fetched to be true. Certain situations & incidents in the young Walles life are far too detailed to be credible remembrances for a 3-year-old or even an older child of 6 or 7. While admitting the book is an absorbing read, it does not come close to being accepted as factual. You have self-absorbed, sick parents who brought their children up in such a lazy, dangerous way (again if Walls’ account is true). A mother who hides candy from her starving children? A mother who refuses treatment for her burned, blistered daughter? A father who throws the family cat out of a moving car but protests when a mountain lion is shot when it wanders too far into suburbia? Not to mention the lack of food, clothing, or a decent, safe home.

    She claims destitution yet they are at one point given a $400,000,00 home to live in & they squander this? These people are monsters, not “free-spirited” & “gypsy-like” as the author describes them.” That Walls description is so blaze & written so matter-of-factly with no bitter is truly amazing & highly suspect no matter how she was raised. It is plainly suspect. What saddens me that so many people think it’s “wonderful” that the memoir lacks anger; that Walls ‘survived all this unscathed & went on to make millions off peoples compassionate side. Parents who have no ability to put their child’s needs before their own desires are just plain bad parents. There is nothing romantic in that. *If* mental illness did indeed contribute to this situation, then shame on the family & professionals who should have recognized this. Walls’s childhood makes Augusten Burroughs’s look positively idyllic.

    Jennifer Lauck’s “Blackbird” is a much more realistic & believable portrayal of a fractured family. A writer giving her account of her mother’s death, & held the emotions portrayed in a much more believable childhood way. Something Walls just wasn’t able to pull off for me.

    In a recent interview regarding the book & her life today Walls said of her mother – ‘She is who she is and I’m not gonna change her. And I love her. She has her dogs and her cats to keep her warm when it’s cold. I’m glad I don’t have to depend on her to be a mom though. It’s not a matter of forgiveness because that implies that she’s hurt me, and if you accept that, then that means that you’re a victim. It’s not a matter of me being a kind, benevolent person, but more being a pragmatist. You move on, you accept it for what it was and you make the most of it.’

    She feels no responsibility toward helping her mother off the streets at all? I’m sure if all this were true, her mother would wish she didn’t have only her daughter to rely on for warmth either.

  • Lori

    Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

  • annbca

    Ginger, I am reading The Glass Castle and I agree with you, something just doesn’t ring true. Right away, when she describes being 3 years old and in the hospital with severe burns, she is describing what a 6 year old might be thinking, but what would be impossible for a 3 year old. We all only have the faintest memories from that age because our brains have not developed enough to create such memories. Also, burns are among the most painful of injuries, but she never describes being in pain. I think she embellished a LOT!

  • annbca, exactly! There are a lot of little things like that in the book that add up to it being far-fetched…that’s a kinder word I suppose. I think people were touched by this book & don’t want to believe it’s been fictionalized to do exactly that.

  • Lillian

    My mom, her brother, and sister were kidnapped at a young age. It was an internal kidnapping. My blood grandmother got divorced from my blood grandfather and married a new man. The two of them kidnapped my mom, her brother, and sister from my blood grandfather and his new wife (my step grandmother). For years they were on the run. The children were beaten, raped, molested, and forced into terrible situations beyond comprehension. My mom, her sister, and her brother did not see my grandfather again until they were in the twenties. Think about that: this happened for fifteen years of their lives because they were kidnapped around the age of five years old. They grew up poor, hungry, without a Christmas, and living very similar to the way that Jeanette Walls lived.

    That being said, it is not hard for me to imagine that Jeanette went through these things. My family has had a worse history and everyone just laughs about it. No one ever went to therapy. No one ever tried to make anyone feel sorry for our situation. That is why it is not hard for me to imagine that Jeannette is telling the truth. If you really have been through pain, like my family has, the best cure for it is laughter. If you don’t laugh, then you will perish; literally. Everything will fall apart. You can’t face yourself in the mirror everyday knowing that you’ve been raped. You just have to laugh about it and move on.

    My real dad was an alcoholic. I could tell you some gruesome stories. My step dad came from an abusive family. I have a whole family of charity cases. Do they ever complain about it? No. Do they use their experiences to teach their children how NOT to be in life? Yes. So, until you have had a tough experience where you have had to live through years of torture and sadness (such as my step grandmother going insane from taking too many prescription drugs) I don’t think that you should be the one to criticize Jeanette Walls for her experiences.

    This may seem a bit harsh, but growing up poor builds character. I grew up poor myself. My parents grew up poor. What defines a person is how they are able to overcome their situation. Despite the hardships in my family, everyone has done very well for themselves; but they worked hard for it. Criticizing Jeannette Walls for having a good job is a little immature. Think about how hard she had to work for that. I know that my parents had to work three jobs each for TEN years JUST so that we could afford to eat.

    Anyway, this review may seem a little harsh but I am just trying to get you to think about what you are saying. You don’t have to agree with me, but having lived pretty much the same life, and having come from a family where they have also lived the same life, her portrayal of her situation actually seems pretty normal. If she embellished anything, she made things appear happier than they really were. But let’s face it; who wants to deal with the emotional baggage of that situation? So I think I can give her a break.

  • Lillian – first might I say the tale you have related here is absolutely horrible. We know things like this occur. We read about them in papers & hear cases on TV sadly all too often. And I wasn’t questioning whether this could happen to anyone, because I know it can. I am questioning whether it happened to her. There is a difference. I feel it didn’t happen to her – my reason being that she was relating it all with absolute lack of feelings & emotion.

    I’m sure if your Mom or your aunt & uncle were to sit down & try to tell of their lives & the horrors they had to endure, they wouldn’t leave out how they felt at the time. Remembering the hunger pangs, remembering the healing from physical hurts & hopefully the longer healing from the emotional ones would be brought back to the forefront of their minds when dredging up all these events. They couldn’t help not telling how sad, or embarrassed or even about the joy when it was over & what lessons they took from it.
    Anyone going thru’ the terrible things as your family has, would have scars that no amount of character could hide.

    As for “going thru” things & having them build character, yes it really does do that. And I’m not just guessing at that. The product of an alcoholic father myself, I went to live with my grandparents at age four. Grandparents who knew the meaning of poor. My grandfather made $24. a week as a part time custodian at the high school. Our rent was $100.00 per month. The math should tell the story. Years of taking in boarders kept them barely solvent but they still took in my brother & I.

    I was left side paralyzed & have fought for eight years to get the use of my arm & hand back. If I had to write a book about that today, it certainly wouldn’t be without emotion. Character means you’re stronger, Lillian, not that you’re an emotional zombie.

    Aside from all that, my skepticism still comes from two other things besides just her lack of emotion. The one brother of hers, when asked about the contents of her book was quick to say he didn’t want to comment but did make some oblique remark about *everyone sees a tiger differently*.

    My other query is why she didn’t feel a need to write this book at all until her new husband told her she stood to make loads of money by doing it & got her a writing coach?

    I’m afraid I have to stand by my first impressions – good read, yes – it kept me entertained, but as a memoir? No.

  • Lillian

    I can see what you are getting at. I guess there are some places in the book where it does seem a little amazing that what she described actually happened. Memoirs are a hard subject to approach because everyone remembers things differently. Even my mom, sister, and brother have varying opinions about what happened to them when they were kidnapped. My mom knows what happened to her, but her real father doesn’t want to believe that half of the things that happened to her are true, so he ignores them, and pretends like nothing ever happened. I get a lot of this in my family; people pretending like things never happened, which is frustrating, and quite frankly, makes me feel kind of like I am left out of a lot of crucial family stories/ business.

    The point I am trying to make is, that the only truth we know as people is our own. What is true for Walls may not have been true for her siblings or her parents. The only accurate way to tell a memoir is to have it be written from five different points of view, of all the people you intend to include in it, but then again, that wouldn’t really be a memoir, and the stories would all be so vastly different that the book would have no order or sense to it at all.

    I would argue that no one has ever truly written an authentic memoir or auto biography because there is no way of capturing the ultimate truth when there are so many interpretations of it. In regards to Walls, I think that she wrote the best that she could, given the fact that she had so many repressed memories and probably still has a hard time dealing with those feelings, even though she claims that she is numb to them.

    I know that is I were to sit down and write about my family one day there would be a lot of contradictions. My family is full of odd dark secrets and layers of lies they would prefer still stay lies. How do you think it feels for me to live my life in a family, where half of my relatives deny what happened and the other half just make jokes about it? It makes me feel crappy, to be honest. No one ever wants to take our problems seriously, except for my grandfather, but I rarely get to talk to him. I knew that if I wrote a memoir I’d start off by saying, “I’d really like to tell you about my family, but I’ve been raising myself and my sister since I was eight years old, and do know anything about anyone else because it is privileged information I never had any access to. All I know is that growing up in a Norwegian family, everyone always had a worse life than I could ever hope to have and I shouldn’t waste my time complaining about it.”

  • Lillian:
    Yes you’re so right! Even within my own family how things touched them are retold in a much different matter. But they still overlap & basically concur with fact on the larger picture. My grandmother for instance, will tell you my father wasn’t an alcoholic,that he just enjoyed a good time & a drink often. But it amounts to the same thing…he drank himself to death. With Walls, her siblings didn’t want to touch what she said in her book because I think they perhaps didn’t want to be perceived as calling her a liar in public.

    However, there were a number of child psychologists who studied the book & said it was virtually impossible for a child of 2 or 3 to remember in such detail the things she ‘recalled’ in her book. Especially things that most children cared nothing about in the first place…like the color of a relatives house or whether an aunt was on a diet?

    It really can be picked apart if you can get past the emotion it pulls from the reader.

  • Lillian

    No memoir is perfect, but there are a few that I have read that have been pretty amazing and life changing (regardless of truthful content). I will give you my humble list of memoirs I would strongly urge you as well as others to read.

    Red Azalea
    Fun House
    The Complete Persepolis (Persepolis Parts 1 and 2)
    Dreams Of Trespass: Tales of A Harem Girlhood
    Reading Lolita In Tehran
    She’s Not There
    A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
    The Liar’s Club
    Glass Castle

    Those are listed in the order of my appreciation for them. I believe that they each talk about life in a way that I have never personally seen portrayed before. It’s good to get different points of view on a subject, even if the subject is embellished, a few names are changed, and things didn’t occur exactly as they did in real life.

    I think one thing that must be taken into consideration when reading a memoir (or autobiography), is that the people writing them are writers. Writers make their whole carrers off of embellishing the truth in some form, whether it be in the form of fiction writing, nonfiction writing, or poetry.

    That being said, the most important thing to do is look at the story you are reading a a whole and get a sense of what the person went through without holding onto the specific details, like what color a person’s dress was when they went to a funeral. Memories often deceive us in the details, but the general ideas are all there. If you look at a memoir in this way, then it is easier to view it as a work of nonfiction that is representative of many of the lives that ordinary people live.

  • Kurt-Sophmore

    As you said that Jeannette didn’t have any emotions about other kids taunting her, and that she didnt have feelings about her house sliding of of 95 Hobart St. but indeed you are wrong. She tells in the story that she asked brian to help her build a rig to throw rocks. To me this shows that Jeannette and Brian both cared very much about their living situation as also shown later in the book where Jeannette confronts her mom about how the family is constantly living. I would also like to point out that if this was a memoir than it could not be fictional. So i would encourage to see the story from her point of view, and to see that their are children in africa that live just like this. its is not something that she is pround about at all but rather being able to accept what has happened and moving on

  • Brittany

    i think that this book was amazing. Ginger Haycox, there are a lot of different possibilities for why Jeannette was capable of remembering certain details and coversations. one of which is that maybe she had diary, in which she wrote down things she felt wee important in her life.

    As for her lack of emotion in her writting, she grew up in a very hard way! or all she might have known, everyother kid in he world had to go throug the same things as her.

    Maybe she did feel emotion to the things that happened to her growing up, but didnt feel they were pertinant to te novel. I personally wouldn’t care to hear about she was hingry every 25 seconds, because it would get boaring.

  • kopo

    ur have no idea what u r taling about

  • kopo, I won’t even grace that with any response other than to ask why you think you know better than I do?

  • Daniel Tang

    Ginger, I can spend a lot of time quoting things you have said and things said in the book to completely tear apart your book review and comments but I do not want to waste my time doing that. I will address a few points though.

    “You can’t relive these types of things no matter how tough we are without some modicum of emotion breaking through; especially if you are having to tell it again in detail for a book.”

    Who are you to make a statement like that? How do you know what people can and can’t do? That would be like me saying: “You can’t kill someone and not feel bad.” Where is my proof? I can’t possibly know that as a fact just like you can’t know your statement is fact.

    “As for her ‘allowing’ her mother to root through trash bins on the streets of NYC, I still can’t swallow that she’s just “letting Mom continue her adventure”. ”

    If you had read the first few pages of the book, you would know that Jeanette tried to give her mom money, but all her mom wanted was “an electrolysis treatment”. How do you help someone live better if they’re going to spend their money like that anyways? Her mom does NOT want to have a higher standard of living, she likes it the way it is.

    “There are other things that are just too silly to believe, rich or poor. Like trying to make braces for her teeth because they were crooked. Any kid I’ve met that was walking barefoot to school in winter snow, wasn’t worried about whether they were going to grow up with straight teeth!”

    Once again, how do you just say that she can’t possibly have been worried about her teeth? How do you know what other people think? There’s probably tons of kids out there who are dirt poor and still worry about their teeth. Just because you have no money means you don’t want to look good? Really?

    “How do you propose she do that? If her own daughter, with all her money doesn’t make efforts to pay for the help she needs to get well & off the streets eating out of dumpsters, then who?”

    And again, if you had read the book you would not be saying this. 1st of all, she inherited land that is worth almost a million dollars (number from the book) when her mother died. Also, she has all of these antiques (fruitwood bows, diamond rings, etc.) that she could easily sell and make quite a bit of money. Also, she had a teaching degree and even used it for a few periods of time but she is too lazy to work and too proud to do what her mother suggested she do in the first place: teach. She has had many many chances to live a better life and it would be quite easy for her to build a life if she desired to do that. She chooses to give up these opportunities and live as a “squatter”.

    “I have worked with the organizations in NY & in Philadelphia & my husband & I are doing so right now over the holidays. There are none – N.O.N.E., who prefer that life to one affording them the pure animal comforts like warm clothing & a clean bed to sleep in.”

    So the few people you’ve worked with in Philadelphia and NY can serve as a proper representation of all the homeless people in USA? I think not. If you do, then so be it, but I would call that extremely ignorant.

    “Volunteer your services over this holiday season why don’t you? It’s quite an education. Then come back & tell me again (providing we’re to believe the book) just how much respect you have for a woman who can leave her mother on the streets of NYC.”

    Once again, I must tell you to read the book. In the FIRST chapter, she tells us that she’s tried to help her mother out multiple times but her mother doesn’t desire help and tells her “You want to help me change my life? I’m fine. You’re the one who needs help. Your values are all confused.” It is fairly clear that her mother does not want help and prefers to live her own life as a squatter.

    “I was left side paralyzed & have fought for eight years to get the use of my arm & hand back. If I had to write a book about that today, it certainly wouldn’t be without emotion. Character means you’re stronger, Lillian, not that you’re an emotional zombie.”

    How can you call Jeanette “an emotional zombie”? It takes a lot of control to be able to write a story that is direct and honest like that. The fact that she can tell her story like that indicates that she has a very strong will. You, on the other hand, clearly don’t. If you were to write a story of your life, I can just tell that you would tell it “with lots of emotion”, in other words, whining.

    “My other query is why she didn’t feel a need to write this book at all until her new husband told her she stood to make loads of money by doing it & got her a writing coach?”

    She was trying to HIDE the fact that her parents were the way they were. How would you feel, working with people in the upper-classes while your parents were poor? Would you want to tell that story and risk losing contacts in the business world, and the respect of others?

    In conclusion, I believe that you are clearly jealous. The story is about the struggle to survive, and the strength of will power and poverty, not about a grown woman whining about her poor past. You clearly fail to grasp the main idea of the story [personal attack deleted]. If you think that the book was “embellished” and lacks emotion, why not write your own BETTER memoir? I’m sure if you did that, you would get MUCH MUCH MUCH more fame and respect than Jeanette Walls, who’s memoir is clearly faked and does not deserve anything. Stop whining on here and go ahead write your own story.

  • Daniel Tang

    Also, do not bother responding, I have effectively revealed your true intentions in writing this review. You are jealous. I am not coming back to this site. Good luck and have fun 😉

  • Jealous? Okay, Daniel, whatever you say. I’m burning inside with gut turning envy…lol! That just goes beyond logic, but you’re entitled to your analysis of my motives. =/

    I wrote a review of a book. Understand the premise…it was what I, as a reader, took away from what I read. Right or wrong – whether others would agree or disagree, never entered my head while putting my thoughts down. I wrote what I felt about the book after reading it. Me personally.

    That does allow others to say they don’t agree & that they enjoyed the book. I’m glad they did…I’m truly happy for them. I hate spending money on a book & being disappointed by it. But I still feel the same way. I’m not trying to make them change their minds – I’m not attacking them for feeling as they do. And most everyone here who have responded, have given very reasonable (& polite)reasons for feeling as they do – usually drawn from personal experience.

    I read the book while drawing from my own personal experiences as well…& my feelings about the book haven’t changed.

  • Kat

    I remember conversations that took place when I was 4 or 5 years old. I am known in my family as a walking encyclopedia, and I still surprise friends from years ago what I still remember about them. I have a good memory for detail, and some people do have photographic memories. They never forget. I used to remember dates of the movie star’s birthdays from the almanac and the Academy Awards before I was 9 years old. I remember watching the Academy Awards back in 1973 with Liza Minnelli. Yes, some people can remember stuff when they were very young. I just retain information, and I could answer many questions on Jeopardy at a young age.

  • Ginger Haycox

    Kat – so can I. I amazed my mother once with details of my birthday cake…my first year birthday cake. I can recall sitting in my high chair & my mother carrying the cake to my chair & smiling. I can recall that it was white with green icing garland around the top. And I can recall how I *felt* about it at that time. Not having a full grasp of what was happening but being fascinated by it all & marveling at the fire on top of the cake! Knowing it was okay because my mother was smiling – I wasn’t afraid – I was safe.
    I can also recall very well how I *felt* about that entire episode & if I were going to write a book about my early years which included that, I would be more apt to write about my feelings of that, than just list the physical details of the cake & chair without the emotional side.
    My issue is more of someone having a horrendous life like Walls alleges she had, a person having a great mind for the detail of it, but never once saying how she *felt* about those events. Good or bad. Sad or happy. Angry or otherwise. Nada. I just don’t find myself able to believe that.

  • Lucy Bollock

    I completely agree with Ginger. I’m reading the book right now and I’m annoyed as hell by it. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I read Ginger’s review – the lack of emotion and the feeling I’m being put on. Jeannette is in the hospital with terrible burns and there is no mention of pain? Then there is the unbelievable stuff that seems written for shock value: She peels her scabs and has them talk to each other? Give me a break. Reading this book feels like voyeurism – I’m not getting any insight from it – just one shocking story after another. I’m not sure what is real and what is fictionalized. Jeannette gets brutally beaten on a regular basis in the schoolyard in W. Virginia and nobody notices? It reminds me of a kid who gets attention by telling something shocking and so continues to try to shock and amaze you with more and more exaggerated stories. There is just such a “La De Dah” attitude as she describes the long strange trip of her childhood. The kids went through every form of hell before they moved into a nice home and yet none of them put up a fight when the parents blithely announce they’re heading out?
    In contrast, there are some great memoirs – one is Road Song by Natalie Kunz. She has a hellish childhood and while she doesn’t blame her parents (and is criticized for it by some reviewers), there is emotion and truth inherent in the tale. I never once doubted what she wrote.

  • Ginger Haycox

    Lucy – thank you. I was beginning to think there was no-one out there who understood what I was trying to express. You have obviously felt the same thing I did while reading. Gripping *fiction*.

    There is also the brother who appeared on a talk show about a year after the books release & while he didn’t say the book was fictionalized or that it was lies, he did say that Jeannette had remembered things very much differently than the rest of the kids. Nobody else has come forward to refute him either…including Jeannette.

    I also read Road Song & found it such a mix of pure emotion, told in a way that took you there -like what I’d expect from someone going thru’ any traumatic time. That book I would highly recommend to anyone!

  • Julie

    Ginger, I just finished The Glass Castle and agree that Walls has written a great piece of fiction – and it’s clearly fiction, not a realistic memoir. From the first chapter, it felt embellished and “pumped-up” with one horrifying story after another. The shock factor was quite effective, and it kept me reading, but I did not walk away believing that I had read a true story. Your instincts are correct. I will not be surprised when Jeannette Walls’ story is eventually proven to be just that — a story.

  • jm

    Perhaps she left her feelings at the time out because she has worked through her issues NOW. As an adult, I can now look back at my childhood and realize that for good or bad it made me who I am today. And that it is time for me to look at my childhood/family/parents without judgement.

    This is what the book did – it isn’t that she wasn’t hungry AT THE TIME. Or didn’t feel lousy AT THE TIME. But I think she is looking at her childhood through adult eyes, and a soul that has worked through everything. Which is why the memoir is a “memory” and not trying to make the audience feel as though they were there at the time.

    In a later chapter, she discovers that her mother’s Texas farm is worth a ton of money – and she writes something along the lines of, “are you friggin kiddin me? mom put us through this and she had money?” (obviously I’m paraphrasing!) So she recognizes that the childhood was difficult, and unfair, but I think she chooses not to talk about the aspect of misery because that wasn’t the goal of her writing.

    I know i’m beating a dead horse here, but going on about how miserable she was would have just made you hate her parents and see her as a victim. As a survivor, she wrote it from a different perspective. So I call this a “memoir” (even though a few parts may be embellished, after all, she is an author! 🙂

  • syd

    Dear Ginger,

    I just finished reading this book, and I wholeheartedly agree with you. Something just doesn’t seem quite right. While I don’t have a problem giving an author leeway to “pad” a story where memories may fade or get fuzzy, there comes a point when it is simply wrong. Also, it just seemed too ready-made…or something. While I don’t doubt this woman lived in poverty and had a less than ideal childhood, something just doesn’t ring true. Some things did though — like the markers on legs to keep from making patches for pants. That seemed true to me.

    And since I grew up in rural Kentucky, I don’t doubt the poverty of West Virginia, but her whole description of that area and the cliches and the stereotypes were just annoying. Like the whole Denitia episode seemed made up. Maybe it’s not the “facts” but the writing style that made it seem unrealistic… I don’t know.

    I did enjoy reading the book, but there were obvious missing pieces to the puzzle (what’s the deal with Maureen and Eric and oh yeah, I got married again to John…) and embellishments that were hard to swallow.

    While I hope I’m wrong, my gut tells me otherwise. Or maybe I am wrong, and she’s just not a very sophisticated writer. A lot of people like that style, including myself on occasion.

  • Sam Sanchez

    ill say what none of you have balls to say “she’s a lying bitch”.

  • Ginger Haycox

    @ Sam – I like a man of few words. =)

    In my case, when I wrote the review, it wasn’t a matter of not having the balls to say what you’ve just said. It was a matter of trying to review as fairly as I could without turning people away from what I was saying for fear they looked upon me as being nonobjective.

    What it really boils down to, is the description of this book as a memoir or just being honest about it and saying it was a book based loosely on some events in her life. To try and believe, for instance, that a woman could become a very successful television personality and then marry a man who was equally successful in his own right, yet drive by her own mother rooting through trash cans on a NYC street without making an effort to get the woman help…well, personally, if that were true, then I certainly don’t want to add to her bank account! But I highly doubt there is much truth in what she’s written. It is my opinion after all this time that her and her husband have found a way of making even more money with this book by tapping into peoples compassionate nature. I am compassionate but not a fool!

  • mike

    Detailed memories starting at age 3 seems hard to swallow. I can believe any number of sad, bizarre stories but this one isn’t ringing true to me. I wasn’t looking for fiction and won’t bother finishing this book. pg 75.

  • karin

    Just finished the book and I agree with Ginger. Too many details for a 3 year old. My granddaughter is 3.5 and would not talk or think like that little girl, and she’s pretty advanced. I believe a lot of the scenarios she wrote about did happen, but a lot did not, or were so embellished they lost accurate details. You cannot possibly remember all the details about how you felt when you were 3,4,5,6,7, etc….. and retain them well enough to write about them as an adult. I compare this book to “A Million Little Pieces”. Good, easy reading though, makes me appreciate what I have now.

  • Ginger Haycox

    Yes,that was more my point too, Karin – I don’t deny enjoying the book, but just had a lot of difficulty accepting it as a memoir or an autobiography, which is how she was trying to push it. It was a good business move on her part tho’ because marketed as that got more people to buy the book. Just a tad dishonest though.

  • Unknown Citizen

    Shut up ginger…or who ever the hell you are, and since when do we hear of “these” stories?!? if we heard of them as often as we hear about celebs and stupid reality tv shows like jersey shore and the kardashians…then we would have a better understanding of what IS really going on in the world. Who are you to judge Jeanette Walls for lack of emotion…? And if you claim we hear about these stories so much…what the hell are you doing sitting on your ass complaining about lack of emotion, when you could be doing something about the situation? … You people these days…go do something valuable with your life and stop questioning someone else’s.

  • Well, to begin with, ‘brave unknown citizen’ who doesn’t have the courage to stand behind their remarks with an actual name, I am doing what I do – I review books & music. Not trolling message boards & comments sections of web sites looking to attack or stir things up.

    I gave my opinion…what I thought was an honest evaluation & not deserving of personal attacks. I know very little about reality shows or anything else because I don’t watch them or talk about them.

    As for doing valuable things with my life, I volunteer almost all my free time to shelters… both the human & animal kind. I also help out one day a week at a hospital taking part in a support group for the disabled. Because you see, I am disabled too.

    So now, you do what for the betterment of our world….?

  • NaiPalm Jabbar

    i really enjoyed reading the glas castle .

  • Tonira

    I just finished reading this book.From the beginning something was not right. There were too many people around this family, yet none of them stepped in on behalf of the children. Nurses, teachers, neighborhoods,grandparents, etc,,, did they all turned a blind eye? How is that possible?

  • k

    the family can not afford to eat and you want to see a photo to prove it?

  • A

    You are ridiculous criticizing her like this. It is an outrage to say that she is living in a higher standard and is leaving her mother out there. If you would have read the book and even understood it, you would have noticed that she tries to help her mother. She does her best but her mother is not willing to except it.

  • Gingers have no souls.

    You obviously do not have a soul if you want to see proof of this story.. A picture really? Do you think she would just lie about all of this. This story is not made up.
    Do you think she has not tried to get her mom to come live with her? If you read the book you would see that she tried and her mom rejected it. Don’t just read the book actually review it before you go and put a post online.

  • Jonathan

    Dear Ginger,

    In response to your comment: “Jennifer Lauck’s “Blackbird” is a much more realistic & believable portrayal of a fractured family. A writer giving her account of her mother’s death, & held the emotions portrayed in a much more believable childhood way.”

    I have no means by which to evaluate the veracity of Ms. Walls’ account, but I can assert that Jennifer Lauck’s account in ‘Blackbird’ is often in error and at times a practice in mendacity.

    A few examples:

    Janet Lauck did pass away on Sept. 19th 1971, though the account Jennifer gives of the event (no doubt her memory) is inaccurate. On that day, Joseph Lauck had taken his two children, Bryan and Jenny, to Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA to celebrate Bryan’s birthday. He didn’t learn of Janet’s death until later that evening. Upon returning home he found that family members had been desperately calling him as UCLA Medical Center had contacted them after having been unable to locate him. Jennifer’s account is markedly different.

    Jennifer claims that Joseph had been involved in a long term affair with ‘Deb’ towards the end of Janet’s life. This is an intentional lie Jenny concocted to further her agenda. Mary Beth Armstrong, Jenny’s aunt, former nun, CPA and a professor with a doctorate in accounting, denied the allegation when Jenny demanded the ‘truth’ during her “research”. Jennifer printed “her truth” regardless. The actual truth is that Joseph first met ‘Deb’ in late Sept. 1971 and specifically in arranging childcare for his suddenly motherless children. Mary Beth informed Jenny of this.

    Jennifer has made much hay with her “abandonment”. Only problem, it never happened. In ‘Blackbird’, Jenny writes of having been banished to live in a religious commune (the ‘Big House’) where she was responsible for the preparation of member’s meals. The commune was the Church of Scientology, Celebrity Center and Jenny was situated in a room just across the foyer from the kitchen where meals for church staff were prepared, meals shared communally in the basement of the same house. At that time (Oct. 1974 thru Jan. 1975) ‘Deb’, with all the children, was one of these staff members. We, as a family, shared our meals and spent free time together. Jennifer has her ‘abandonment’ existing for a period of a year or more. Jenny was relocated to live with the Lauck’s (March 1975) a period of some six months from the time ‘Deb’ moved her family into Celebrity Center.

    The only characters in ‘Blackbird’ who showed any kindness towards Jenny are introduced as “Max and Karen”, the couple who run the kitchen at the ‘Big House’. “Karen” is pregnant and eventually births twins, a scene from which the title “Blackbird” is realized. The kitchen at Celebrity Center was run by a young man with a wild mop of blond hair, mid twenties. He had no wife, though he was enamored with Deb’s oldest daughter, a fetching teenager. The twins born at Celebrity Center during that period would most likely have been the children of Gay Ribisi, Giovanni and Marisa. Gay eventually became a successful talent manager in Hollywood. Her children became actors. Though Giovanni has known greater success, Marisa achieved her own recognition until marrying the musician Beck. It was Beck’s mother (Bibbe Hansen) who acted as mid-wife at the delivery. I’ve discussed the birth of the twins with Gay. She discounted Jennifer’s account. There were no children present at the birth. Gay was not a “hippy”. The Beatles song “Blackbird” was not played during the delivery.

    Jenny claims to have been a fifth grade dropout, to have left and failed to complete this grade. Not so. Jenny attended Stead Elementary in Stead, NV for the later part of that school year and did complete the 5th grade. Quite a commute from LA each day for a traumatized child, homeless, abandoned, school-less, begging for food, hearing voices and all into the late summer 1975.

    Jenny’s account of the distance from the ‘Big House’ to the Hoover Street Elementary she “dropped out of” is one of some twenty blocks. The distance is actually four blocks.

    The ‘Big House’ was located at 845 South Lake street in Los Angeles, CA. Jenny tells of having been required to drag a suite of bedroom furniture some 12 or more blocks. Problem: Jenny was moved from 845 South Lake street to 915 South Lake street, a distance of 100 yards. Jenny’s account of her ‘drag’ would have had her covering from 40 to 50 miles, all the while heaving large pieces of furniture along the way. We’re to believe she achieved this remarkable feat in the course of a day.

    Jenny spent the summer of 1972 at a Scientology day camp located in Palo Alto, CA. It was at this camp that Jenny’s claims of sexual assault were to have been committed. The camp was operated at “The Pickle Farm”, the home of Paul and Terri Spickler, parents of the actress Mimi Rogers. If the assault did occur why has Jenny remained silent. It’s not uncommon for a pedophile to continue to prey upon the young until brought to justice. Jenny remains silent.

    Jenny makes much of her “stolen” patrimony. Fact: Joseph Lauck died while deep in debt for the medical bills of Janet Lauck. He was broke. There was no patrimony. The Social Security stipend that Jenny claims was pilfered from her amounted to approximately $125.00 monthly. ‘Deb’ was left with little money to support five children, harassing collection agencies, all the while attempting to maintain some measure of equilibrium under the weight of the loss of her husband.

    These examples are but a few of the many inaccuracies, alterations, and fabrications foisted by Jennife upon Oprah, numerous print publications and “Blackbirds” readers. Jenny, as a child, exhibited a propensity for tall tales. The years, seemingly, have done little to temper the habit.

  • Jonathan

    A note as to erroneously identifying Mimi Roger’s father as Paul Spickler. Paul was Mimi’s younger brother. Mimi’s father was Phil Spickler.

  • Nadia Santos

    The writing style is fluent and
    articulate, simple enough to be fun to read, needing only perhaps more
    of a poetic touch from time to time. The end of the book, to me, has a
    bit of the “living subject syndrome,” where the reader gets the sense
    she can’t quite be brutally honest because she’s talking about people
    who are alive and in her life and who will read the book–but it’s not
    excessive, and it’s a minor flaw in an otherwise outstanding book.

    Customer recommendations for Land For Sale in Alaska raw