Category Archives: Biography/Autobiography/ Memoir

Book Talks Using Voice Thread

For the fourth book review of the year, Honors 9 Students created “book talks”.  These book talks are located on voicethread.com, and we invite your comments and additions to our conversations about the great books we love.

http://voicethread.com/share/5068841/

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The Blind Side by Michael Lewis reviewed by Ashton Sparks

 

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

From goodreads.com:

 

The young man at the center of this extraordinary and moving story will one day be among the most highly paid athletes in the National Football League. When we first meet him, he is one of thirteen children by a mother addicted to crack; he does not know his real name, his father, his birthday, or any of the things a child might learn in school such as, say, how to read or write. Nor has he ever touched a football.

 

What changes? He takes us football, and school, after a rich, Evangelical, Republican family plucks him from the mean streets. Their love is the first great force that alters the world’s perception of the boy, whom they adopt. The second force is the evolution of professional football itself into a game where the quarterback must be protected at any cost. Our protagonist turns out to be the priceless combination of size, speed, and agility necessary to guard the quarterback’s greatest vulnerability: his blind side.

 

Who would want to be living either on the streets or just going from place to place staying the night? To me that is no way to live and that is exactly the type of life that Michael Oher was living at the beginning of the novel The Blind Side by Michael Lewis. There are three main things that I enjoyed are the theme. The second is the way I really got a sense of who Michael Oher really is, and the third is the strong protagonist of the novel.

The first thing I really enjoyed was the challenging theme of the novel. To me the theme is that no matter where someone comes from or what type of life they live they do not have to live that way forever. The theme is very strong and inspiring and reaches out to many audiences not just one set group. I feel that this is one of the best themes out of the novels I have read so far this school year. The main theme to me is don’t give up, don’t ever give up. This novel really inspired me to work hard at everything I do, not only to better myself but to make a good life for myself also. Everyone should just remember that no matter how bad things seem they can always get better if you try to make them better.

The second thing element that I enjoyed was the way I really got a sense of who Michael Oher was. At first he wouldn’t talk hardly but then he really came out of his shell. I think that Leigh Anne Tuohy had a lot to do with this. She was the first person he really talked to and would really listen to. Michael Oher was one of the most surprising students that Briarcrest Christian School had ever seen. He had a GPA of 0.6 and didn’t know any of the things that normal students his age had known for years. When they looked at his records his teachers had basically passed him to get him out of their class. Everyone was shocked by the outcome of Michael Oher’s football career.

The third and final thing that I enjoyed was the strong protagonist. I feel that Michael Oher was the protagonist. He is because he went through a big change throughout the story. He went from nothing to one of the best in the NFL. He went from having a crack addicted mother to being adopted by a rich family who treats him like one of their own. His life changed very much for the better and most of it is because of his new found family, the Tuohy’s. The story behind Michael and his career is absolutely wonderful and really shows how anyone can change and make things better.

Overall the novel was great and inspiring. I enjoyed most everything about it. I recommend this book to anywhere from middle school and up. It is great for all audiences and I think it will open up some people’s eyes and inspire them to do better and make a better life for themselves. The challenging theme, the way I got to really know Michael, and the strong protagonist were the three things I enjoyed most of this novel. Michael Oher is definitely a strong character and his story can really make people think about their lives and think about how to make their lives better. Altogether I enjoyed his novel very much.

Written by Khair Khana reviewed by Georgianna Evans

There are many characters in the book.I really like Kamilia she’s my favorite character.All of the characters had a voice, but weren’t as brave as Kamilia. She would get an ideal, and follow through with, or without her sisters help.

 

The story was in a conversational story telling tone.Throughout the whole book I was interested, I am glad that I choose that autobiography to read.The tone was kept up through the book also.Usually authors changs the tone, but not in this book.There were sad parts in the book like when tbr Taliban finally took over.

 

The details in the book were vivid.The explained everything very well.When the nine sisters started to make dresses the author explained, exactly what they looked like.Also while reading I sometimes have a hard time invisioning what the author is talking anout.In “The Dressmaker” I could understand everything

 

I liked the book a lot it was a great book.  Anyone could read it, I liked how the characters, and the tone fit together. The details were great also. The author made a lot of good points through the book.

Marley and Me reviewed by Tomi Nelson

From: The inside of the book.

John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house, and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow fur ball of a puppy. Life would never be quite the same.
Marley quickly grew into a barreling, ninety-seven pound steamroller of a Labrador retriever, a dog like no other. He crashed through screen doors, gouged through drywall, flung drool on guests, stole women’s undergarments, and ate nearly everything he could get his mouth around, including couches and fine jewelry. Obedience school did no good- Marley was expelled. Neither did the tranquilizers the veterinarian prescribed for him with the admonishment, “Don’t hesitate to use these.”

And yet Marley’s heart was pure. Just as he joyfully refused any limits on his behavior, his love and loyalty were boundless too. Marley shared the couple’s joy at their first pregnancy and their heartbreak over the miscarriage. He was their when babies finally arrived and when the screams of a seventeen-year-old stabbing victim pierced the night. Marley shut down a public beach and managed to land a role in a feature-length movie, always winning the hearts as he made a mess of things. Through it all, he remained steadfast, a model of devotion, even when his family was at its wit’s end. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms.

Is it possible for humans to discover the key to happiness through a bigger-than-life, bad-boy dog? Just ask the Grogans.

So most people have seen this movie right? Yes, but have they read the book? Most likely not, let me ask them this. Do they know the feeling of losing their best friend while watching them suffer after spending being with them their whole life almost? This is the idea put into the awarding winning novel Marley and Me by John Grogan. Well I decided to read it myself and it was one amazingly heartfelt book throughout the interactive characters, amazing plot, and touching conflict.

The interaction of the characters is just so unbelievable. There are so many characters in this book, but the two that really caught my eye was mainly John Grogan and his puppy Marley. John is a journalist that has found deep love and care for Marley even though he goes through many life challenges with him. Marley is one destructive and energetic puppy that grows into an even more destructive dog, but is also very lively and loyal to his owner. He teaches John many life lessons and the value of friendship. Yes I know it’s crazy, but it’s true. I find it hard to believe that anybody wouldn’t fall in love with these two throughout this novel.

The amazing plot is really what got me and led me to keep reading. I didn’t really expect anything that happened in this book, but I liked the way it kept me on the edge and wanting to know. It all started out with the lovely married couple John and Jenny and it was only ten months after their marriage that they decided to little lovable puppy to have as their own. That’s not how it turned out though because not long after they got the puppy that they thought if they should get rid of him or not. Well they decided to keep him even though he was described as the worst dog ever. None of this mattered in the end after having three children and having a family that loved him no matter what happened. I believe if anybody was to read this book that they would fall with the plot as much as I did.

The touching conflict really got ahold of my heart because I had so many ways to connect to it. The way they used the dog in the story made me think of a dog I use to have and all the obstacles we went through together. When Marley becomes very weak and ill I love the way how the whole family sticks by his side. Marley goes through so many obstacles in his life leading up to his illness like getting to mess up things around the house as a puppy, especially when he was alone. John and Kelly along with the three children that come along throughout the story fell in love with this dog at first sight and couldn’t watch him suffer anymore. So I believe who ever reads this book will connect to it just as much as I did.

Overall I thoroughly loved this book and was so heartbroken when I got to the end. So to anyone who has watched the movie or not I really recommend that they read the book because it will get them more than the movie ever will. Also if there are any pet lovers out there I’m sure this book will grad ahold of your heart throughout the interactive characters, amazing plot, and toughing conflict. I would have to say that John Grogan created one amazing award wining novel.

 

American Sniper by Chris Kyle reviewed by Samuel Justice

American Sniper by Chris Kyle

Summary from garfieldlibraries.org

He is the deadliest American sniper ever, called “the devil” by the enemies he hunted and “the legend” by his Navy SEAL brothers.

From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. The Pentagon has officially confirmed more than 150 of Kyle’s kills (the previous American record was 109), but it has declined to verify the astonishing total number for this book. Iraqi insurgents feared Kyle so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle earned legendary status among his fellow SEALs, Marines, and U.S. Army soldiers, whom he protected with deadly accuracy from rooftops and stealth positions. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.

Imagine being such a great warrior your allies call you “The Legend” and enemies call you ”The Devil”. This is the case for United States Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. history. In the autobiography American Sniper Chris Kyle tells of his childhood, and of the time of service he gave in the Navy. After the battles he fought in in Ramadi, Fallujah, and Sadr City he had the most confirmed kills, numbering more then 150. The exact number is not verified. Along the way he saved countless lives, and in the end his only wish was I wish I could of only saved more. He was awarded with two silver stars and five bronze stars for bravery, and received the Grateful nation Award. Chris Kyle has truly captured his amazing story through Setting that make you feel as though readers are there, themes that inspire , and vocabulary that describes every moment as though the reader can see it.

 

 

One of my favorite parts of this book was how well the setting were described. While reading I could imagine the views and the scenarios the author was in as if it were me. This is especially true for moment that really stuck with the author such as his first kill and when one of his brother-in-arms had fallen beside him. Here are some examples of his words.

“I looked through the scope of the Sniper Rifle, Scanning down the road of the tiny Iraqi town. Fifty yards away, woman opened the door of a small house and stepped outside with her child.

It was my job to protect them. My platoon had taken over the building earlier in the day, sneaking into position to provide “overwatch”- prevent the enemy from ambushing the Marines as they came through. It didn’t seem like too difficult a task- if anything, I was glad

It was clear that not only did she want to kill them, but she didn’t care about anybody else nearby who would have been blown up by the grenade or kissed in the firefight. Children on the street, people in the houses, maybe her child…

She was too blinded by evil to consider them. She just wanted Americans dead, no matter what.

My shots saved several Americans, whose lives were clearly worth more than that woman’s twisted soul. I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job. But I truly, deeply hated the evil that woman possessed. I hate it to this day.

The rifle I was holding was a .300 WinMag, a bolt-action, precision sniper weapon that belonged to my platoon chief. He’d been covering the street for a while and needed a break. He showed a great deal of confidence in me by choosing me to spot him and take the gun. I was still a new guy, a newbie or rookie in the Teams. By SEAL standards, I had yet to be fully tested.

We were on the roof of an old rundown building at the edge of a town the Marines were going to pass through. The wind kicked dirt and papers across the battered road below us. The place smelled like a sewer- the stench of Iraq was one thing I’d never get used to.

I looked through the scope. The only people who were moving were the woman and maybe a child or two nearby. I watched our troops pull up. Ten young, proud Marines in uniform got out of their vehicles and gathered for a foot patrol. As the Americans organized, the woman took something from beneath her clothes, and yanked at it.

She’s set a grenade. I didn’t realize it at first.

“Looks yellow,” I told the chief, describing what I saw as he watched himself. “It’s yellow, the body-”

“She’s got a grenade,” said the chief. “That’s a Chinese grenade.”

“Take a shot.”

“But-”

“Shoot. Get the Grenade. The Marines-”

I hesitated. Someone was trying to get the Marines on the radio, but we couldn’t reach them They were coming down the street, heading toward the woman.

I pushed my finger against the trigger. The bullet leapt out. I shot. The grenade dropped. I fired again as the grenade blew up. It was the first time I’d killed anyone while I was on the sniper rifle. And the first time in Iraq- and the only time- I killed anyone other than a male combatant.”

This is just one example. I had to cut a lot out so it wouldn’t take up so much room, but I can see the scenario in my head still yet. This book gave some of the best setting I have read.

 

Besides the setting I really enjoyed the themes as well. The theme is one of my favorites. It says to never give up. If more people went by this phrase the world might be a little bit of a better place. In today’s time it seems like if it is to hard society just tells you to give up.  Another theme I think the book portrayed was do your very best, give everything you got. It goes along with first, and if people did this a lot more could be accomplished instead of just giving a little bit. I believe the author did a great job in delivering these themes. If you are one who agrees with them then I would definitely recommend this book to you.

 

The author did an outstanding job on the vocabulary. In each situation he chose words that showed readers exactly what he was feeling instead of general words such as happy, sad, and mad. He especially delivered this in moments of sorrow. I can remember how vividly he described his feeling when he thought his daughter had been diagnosed with leukemia, and when his fellow SEALs Marc Lee and Ryan. In these moments, even though you had no clue who these people are, the reader could feel on a lower level of what the author was feeling.

 

In the end I really enjoyed this book, and hope to read many more like it. This book is very near the top of the list for my favorite books. I recommend this to readers who enjoy military books especially. If you like a book with constant action and event taking place this the book for you. Through theme, setting, and vocabulary Chris Kyle has written a true winner with his book American Sniper.

Fire on Ice by Sasha Cohen, Reviewed by Ashley Mollett

Fire on Ice by Sasha Cohen

From Goodreads.com

Sasha’s own story — on and off the ice Champion figure skater Sasha Cohen captured the world’s attention with her exquisite spiral and outstanding layback spin at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Today she is the reigning queen of winter’s most competitive sport and the most serious contender for the gold medal in 2006. For the first time, Sasha tells her amazing story, in her own words, including:
Her discovery of ice skating at age 7 and the coaches who trained her. Her comeback from the injury that almost ended her career. The crushing lows and miracle win. This is the official autobiography of the world’s most captivating skater, on and off the ice.

Has anyone ever wondered what it would be to spend the day in the life of a figure skater? In the Autobiography by Sasha Cohen it explains to those who are reading it that it isn’t easy. As I was reading this I found it is hard to manage being a teenager and figure skater. The three things I enjoyed most about the autobiography was the conflicts, the setting, and the characters.

The first thing I enjoyed was the conflicts that Sasha went through to become an Olympic medalist. She talks about all the injuries and travel issues. Sasha had a back injury that keeps reoccurring throughout the book. In the book Sasha had a lot of issues with her living situations, she moved a lot. When she would move she would always have to find a new coach, a new rink, and a new dress designer. Eventually, she would move back to where she started.

The second thing I enjoyed was the setting. I really enjoyed how Sasha would describe the dressing rooms, the ice rinks, and the new houses. She stated that the airport was “covered in Olympic decorations”. Sasha would tell us every place she went with vivid details.

The last thing I enjoyed was the characters. I have heard of these figure skaters but I didn’t realize how long they have been skating. One of the characters I have heard a lot about was Johnny Weir. She talked about other figure skaters, coaches, and her family. Sasha was the main protagonist in the book because this was her autobiography. She didn’t give many names of the judges but she told us who her biggest competitors.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed Fire on Ice by Sasha Cohen. The things I enjoyed about this autobiography was the conflicts, the setting, and the characters. I would recommend this autobiography to anyone who is interested in learning about the Olympic medalist Sasha Cohen. This book was inspiring because when something would happen she would always push past it.

Lone Survivor by Marcus Lattrell reviewed Samuel Justice

Lone Survivor

By Marcus Latrell

From barnesandnoble.com:

Four US Navy SEALS departed one clear night in early July 2005 for the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a reconnaissance mission. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader rumored to be very close to Bin Laden with a small army in a Taliban stronghold. Five days later, only one of those Navy SEALS made it out alive.

This is the story of the only survivor of Operation Redwing, SEAL fire team leader Marcus Luttrell, and the extraordinary firefight that led to the largest loss of life in American Navy SEAL history. His squadmates fought valiantly beside him until he was the only one left alive, blasted by an RPG into a place where his pursuers could not find him. Over the next four days, terribly injured and presumed dead, Luttrell crawled for miles through the mountains and was taken in by sympathetic villagers who risked their lives to keep him safe from surrounding Taliban warriors.

A born and raised Texan, Marcus Luttrell takes us from the rigors of SEAL training, where he and his fellow SEALs discovered what it took to join the most elite of the American special forces, to a fight in the desolate hills of Afghanistan for which they never could have been prepared. His account of his squadmates’ heroism and mutual support renders an experience that is both heartrending and life-affirming. In this rich chronicle of courage and sacrifice, honor and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell delivers a powerful narrative of modern war.

What is a hero? What is sacrifice? I thought I knew what these things were, but really I didn’t.  A real soldiers story is much different than what kids see playing a Call of Duty video game.  In Marcus Latrell’s book Lone Survivor, I came to see what a true warrior goes through during battle.  Set in Afghanistan a few years after the 9-11 attacks, the author retells his epic story of surviving the unthinkable odds, while his brothers-in arms gave the ultimate sacrifice.  I believe Marcus Latrell captured his story through its themes, setting, and vocabulary.

The themes in this book really stood out to me, the most important being, never give in.  Even after falling off cliffs, being shot, blown up, and almost dying of thirst, Marcus Latrell never gave up hope. After being hit by a rocket propelled grenade or RPG, Marcus was knocked unconscious and blown into a deep ravine. Several hours went by before he awoke. Bleeding and unable to move his legs he gathered enough strength to crawl to a safe position.  He realized he was the last in his team of four Navy SEALS alive.  While lying in a crevice in a cliff many thoughts crossed his mind. One of the things that kept him going was he kept repeating Psalms 23:4:  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. The other was that he was determined to tell the story of how brave his SEAL team had fought and the sacrifice they made.  The author was able to express this powerfully through his themes.

The setting played a vital role in this book.  America had just gone through its worst terrorist attack and the first attack on its own soil since Pearl Harbor.  The country was gearing up for war and Marcus Latrell had already begun his SEAL training.  The setting varied from his childhood in Texas to the icy waters of Coronado to the unforgiving mountain peaks of the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan.  Even as a child he knew what he wanted to do, deciding to be a Navy SEAL at the age of twelve. After being accepted into the program his intense training took him all across the country.  While serving in Afghanistan, along with his team of three others, he was assigned to kill a Taliban warlord.  The team was flown into the steep and rocky mountains of the Hindu Kush where they had to hike to recon the area where the warlord was believed to be.  Marcus described the scenery well and explained the Afghani culture and how they viewed the Americans.  I gained a better understanding of the war on terrorism through the setting of this book.

The author was able to express emotions and thoughts through the use of his vocabulary.  Though it used graphic language it enabled me to better understand the struggles that our military men and women face every day.  I have been wanting to read this book for a while but my father did not want me to because of the use of this language, but now agreed so I would understand that war is not glamorous as one may be lead to believe playing video games.  Marcus achieved the true nature of war through his description and vocabulary.  He was to the point in his descriptions and did not over exaggerate.  I believe he wanted to tell the story exactly how it happened.

In the end, this is one of my favorite books I have ever read.  It was full of action, patriotism, and sacrifice.  I think someone looking for these qualities would enjoy this book.  For someone my age who was just a baby at the time of the 9-11 attacks, this book gives a realistic view of the war on terror and helps  give understanding of those serving in the military during this time.

 

 

Fire On Ice by Sasha Cohen, Reviewed by Jocelyn Cabauatan

Fire On Ice by Sasha Cohen

From barnesandnoble.com

Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen tells her story — on and off the ice

champion figure skater Sasha Cohen captured the world’s attention with her exquisite spiral and outstanding layback spin at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. In Torino, she reigned as the most intriguing contender in figure skating at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games and triumphed with the silver medal. For the first time, Sasha tells her amazing story, in her own words, including:

  • Her      discovery of ice skating at age 7 and the coaches who trained her
  • Her      comeback from the injury that almost ended her career
  • The      crushing lows and miracle wins

 

Who wouldn’t want to live their childhood dream? In the novel Fire On Ice by Sasha Cohen, she demonstrates her love and passion for the wonderful sport of figure skating and her strive to live her childhood dream to be an Olympian. Set in an autobiography for anyone who enjoys reading about athletes that have gone through challenging times in their careers. My favorite parts about this novel was the settings, unique vocabulary, and the experiences Sasha went through.

Each setting of this ambitious novel was different and unique in its own way. For example, at first Sasha Cohen started off in a gym as a gymnast and then went to a sheet of ice and became a figure skater. Sasha also had to move from California to Connecticut and even into New York for training. She also had to compete a lot for figure skating and so she traveled to Russia, France, and all kinds of other exhilarating countries. My favorite settings were when she competed in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics because of how incredibly big the arenas sounded compared to just a normal sports facility.

This novel had some amazing and unique vocabulary as well. For example, a lot of the vocabulary was talking about jumps, spins , and even footwork that were based off what Sasha had to do. A lot of skating vocabulary has very odd names but since I’m a figure skater myself I automatically knew what jumps and spins she was talking about through the novel which was a plus. Even though this novel had some large and unique words inside of it the reading itself was very easy.

Sasha went through some tremendous and heart breaking experiences through this novel. For example two of the most tremendous experiences she went through was competing in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics she described them each as a exhilarating and over whelming experiences. Though Sasha had some amazing experiences competing at the Olympics twice she also had some very terrible ones too at competitions like any other skater. One of the most terrible times she went through as a professional skater was when she had to withdraw from the senior national championships because of a back injury which also almost ended her career. Even though Sasha went through some tough times she still managed to get through everything in her career and still skates in shows to this day.

Overall I thoroughly fell in love with this amazing novel right from the beginning. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about competitive athletes and wants to know more about a competitive athletes’ personal life. Sasha Cohen is most definitely is an amazing role model for anyone. Through the use of different settings, unique vocabulary, and amazing experiences Sasha Cohen has definitely made an amazing novel in her book Fire On Ice. I hope more people will become fond of this novel as well.

 

 

Marley and Me by John Grogan Reviewed by Emilee Evans

Marley and Me by John Grogan

From amazon.com      

John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same again.

Could you imagine having the world’s worst dog? The Grogan family dealt with one a daily basis, their dog Marley is a reckless and loving Labrador retriever. The experiences and memories the Grogan’s and Marley made were wonderfull, Marley taught them so many things they probably never even realized, Marley taught them what really matters in life. I loved Marley and Me by John Grogan I really loved the characters, theme, and the vocabulary.

First, I really enjoyed the heartwarming characters in this novel. The characters are real life relatable people you have the hardworking father John, the loving mother Jenny and three children Patrick, Connor and Colleen and their pet Marley. I enjoyed how he described his family from their personalities to their characteristics, I felt like I got an idea of what they looked liked. I really liked how he said Jenny’s personality changed when she got pregnant with her children and how her appearance changed. Also how he described his children’s appearance as they matured.

Second, I really enjoyed the theme in Marley and me which was to “Never slow down, never look back, live each day with adolescent verve and punk and curiosity and playfulness.” I really enjoyed this message so much; I thought it gave me a new perspective on life. Think the main meaning behind the message was to live life and never look back keep moving forward don’t worry about the consequences are just go on. I think whoever would read this book would enjoy the theme as much as I did.

Lastly, I enjoyed the vocabulary used in Marley and Me; I really liked how Grogan wrote how his kids actually talked. When he quoted his children he wouldn’t use correct grammar and vocabulary because children don’t talk like that. Instead of writing daddy he wrote “waddy” and instead of mommy he wrote “mama” having baby talk in the novel wasn’t just a good choice it was so cute and I could totally image the way the children spoke. Mainly the use of vocabulary in this book made me have more of a connection.

Overall I enjoyed Marley and Me the heartwarming and unforgettable story of a family in the making. I personally would recommend this novel to teenagers I feel like they would understand the concept of the book more than an older generation. They could learn to live life and not worry about the consequences just never look back and keep moving forward. I believe they would really enjoy the characters, theme, and vocabulary.

 

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. Shelbee Balentine 5th period.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

From: Goodreads.com            Shelbee Balentine

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four childern. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the moutains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his childeren’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 “excitment 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 West Virginia mining town-and the family- Rex Walls had done everything 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.

 

What is so astonishing about Jeanette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents in such deep affection and generosity. Hers is such 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.

 

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.

As a child, you’re never going to tell your parents they have problems, and that they’re ruinning your life. You love them too much, and you accepted the fact that that’s the way they want to live. Even if it hurts you. This is exactly what Jeannette Walls faces in her story, The Glass Castle. In this story you see how unconditional love and embarrassment clash together. You see the measures Jeanette and her sibilings will push to make sure they make their life’s for the better. I was really into this whole novel, the whole time I read it I didn’t want to put it down. Although, my three favorite things had to have been the characters, plot, and theme!

 

In this novel the characters really spoke to me. Ecspecially because it was a true story, the author went out of her way really making it to where you understood the characters personalites. The story is a first person narration, told by Jeanette herself. There were many secondary characters in this story. Those characters included: Lori, Brian, Maurenn, Rose Mary, and Rex. Basically, all of her family. To me, I seen a lot of change in the kids of the story. They went from being kids, accepting that’s the way that they lived, to young adults doing and trying to make better on their own and moving to New York. In the story,  I was very sad that Maurenn turned out the way she did, because everyone tried to help her and it seemed as though she was turning out like her parents. I don’t think Rex or Rose Mary ever really changed much. They were happy with the hard life they lived. Once Rex died though I think Jeannette seen that even though her parents caused her a lot of problems, she loved them unconditionally.

 

The plot of this story went throughout this whole story, there wasn’t really one certain problem. It was many problems all caused by her parents, so I would say that her parents were the conflict. It started out as a flashback of when she was three and got burnt trying to make herself hotdogs and was admitted and checked out of the hospital by her dad, Rex Wall. In the whole story, they constantly move, always moving into basically a pit hole. They move to Battle Moutain but not long after, she is ripped up from the only place she had ever felt like home. One day, her mom decides that they are going to move back to Welch, West Virginia where Rex had spent his whole life since he was seventeen trying to escape. Jeanette has nowhere else to go, until she comes up with a plan to move to New York. It works out, she gets down there with her sister Lori, and it seems like everything is going well. Until, one day she gets a call saying her parents had moved to New York. Her world starts spinning, she doesn’t know what to do, or how to tell or justify that her parents are homeless. She eventually just looses all contact with them once her sister is sent to jail, until her dad dies. At that point Jeanette realized, no matter the struggle, her parents made her the person she was. She realized what was unconditonal love.

 

To me, the theme is the lesson the book taught you. This book taught me many things. They went through heartache the whole time. I think both parents and kids had heartache. The parents ached because they knew they weren’t right by the way they did their kids, and hated themselves for not changing it. The childeren had heartache for the way they lived, not being able to change it, and also not being able to change their parents. I think I loved this book so much, because I could some what relate to it. This book taught me that things may not always be perfect, but sometimes you have to be strong for the weak. Jeanette and her siblings were very inspirational because I seen that no matter how hard your life may be, you’re the only person who can control your future!

 

Overall, I absolutely loved this novel, and hope to find more books written by Jeanette Walls. I would like to know how Maureen continued her life, and what Rose Mary did after Rex died. I recommend this book to anybody who can get your heart into a book, it will be one you don’t want to put down until the last page! I think this novel fits any young adult or older. Jeanette Walls is very inspirational and a strong woman, who can teach people that when it seems like you are at the end of your rope you must tie a knot and to never give up on your dreams and what you believe in!