Jane, The Fox, and Me by Fanny Britt, Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
I remember when it first started hitting the shelves, and seeing on the cover that it was being compared to Mary Karr's The Liar's Club, a book that I decidedly did not care for, so I put this one right back down and carried on for a good nine years without reading it.
Well, now I have read it. And I am angry.
I don't think it was the author's intention to make her parents seem like monsters, because despite their MYRIAD faults, her love for them shines through very brightly, but CRIMINY. I can only imagine how difficult this was to write; was it more of an exorcism for Ms. Walls, or did she find herself back in therapy, feeling re-victimized? I think her folks did love her and her siblings, as much as they were capable, but it feels like a bona fide miracle that they all survived to the extent that they did.
Now: Why didn't I hate this book? I should have hated it. I usually can't stand this type of memoir, because so much of it feels overwhelmingly hopeless. Was it because I knew the author survived her own childhood and thrived despite (because of?) it? Or is it a huge testament to her ability to tell her own story in a way that never felt whiney or self-suffering? Was it that a better life seemed constantly possible and just around the next corner for these kids, or what? I need someone to explain my own feelings for this book to me, STAT.