Delivered from a dilemma ...
The weekend brings on an air of relief every week. I'm usually feeling it by Friday morning because Thursday's edition of femme's Desk is behind me.
I serve as webmaster for several other sites, so, there's plenty of work coming across my desk at least five days a week but often, it takes up all seven days.
Don't worry. I do take breaks when I need them and lately I've been pushing to work ahead of the flashPress publishing schedule which has helped to keep the work load far more manageable. But, as life happens, yesterday, I hit a bit of a snag when an unexpected and necessary task cropped up. By late evening I'd still not managed to get the scheduled article for today's PRPulse edition completed for you and I was feeling fatigued.
The last couple of weeks, my sister, Nee, and I have spent hours upon hours crafting some wearable art in order to have enough pieces completed in time for them to debut during an annual event she participates in. Each year she sets up shop at the Spring Fling in New Harmony, Indiana, and does book signings along with showing her photography and cards. The event will be here before we know it and it usually takes several weeks of prepping for it.
That has been a focus for both of us, as well as other necessary tasks, and by late last evening, I had a post to write, and was still working on another time-sensitive task. Thankfully, my friend and colleague Victoria Warner jumped in to help me tie up some loose ends.
This lady does lots of work behind the scenes as one of my business partners, yet to view the work she produces on her site, she makes it all look so easy.
Most folks would never imagine the hours spent in the prep for her site's weekly editions and the caboodles of other aspects of our combined work she attends to on a near-daily basis.
So, it's with much appreciation that I feature her for you as the guest author of today's edition of the PRPulse.
Here's Victoria Warner of Life Talks - I Write presenting The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.
Sometimes you read a book so remarkably written that once is not enough. The content is so compelling, so relatable, so stunning in its heartbreaking simplicity that you marvel at the author's skill.
The Glass Castle is such a book, and the copy I have is slightly dog-eared from my own three reads, and those who read before me. I know I'll be reading it again, too!
Jeannette Walls starts this account of her memoir with one of her first powerful memories, in southern Arizona, USA. By the time she's four-years-old she will have lived in 11 different places, and her travels don't stop there!
She grows up in a family that can easily be described as dysfunctional almost to the extreme. Mother and father are both brilliant in their own ways and yet self-destructive in their behaviors. Amid chaos caused by father's love affair with the bottle, his swashbuckling attitude and frequent unexplained gambling and drinking absences keep their passionate romance alive throughout the years. Life is never boring with these parents, physically fighting, then kissing and making up the next day.
Mrs. Walls is resourceful to achieve her own artistic ends in life, but seems to have a blind spot when it comes to caring for the children. Every disaster, no matter how extreme, is met with a philosophy dangerously akin to Pollyanna's eternal optimism.
That sounds pretty good on the surface, but in reality the children suffer bodily and emotional harm, even as she focuses more and more on her artistic ambition. She rails against any domesticity, paints serenely on, hoarding her work daily, and seems to be incapable of seeing her children's tormented lives, even when they are starving from lack of food. In fact she will eat, while being sublimely uncaring of her starving progeny.
Both parents unite in keeping the children out of school. There is good reason for this. The family is constantly on the run from people, including landlords, who've been unpaid for services. The nomadic children learn from an early age to decide on one possession they really like, because that is all they will be able to take when Dad decides it's time to "do the skedaddle."
Jeanette adores her father, and in return becomes his closest ally in the family. He is a grand eccentric; a fascinating and charismatic man, with a brilliant mind and spectacular knowledge of astronomy, physics and geography. He imparts knowledge to his children via various interesting and often not-so-kind teaching techniques! When they eventually do go to school, they are all seen to be "gifted" children.
The impoverished, constantly starving children forge close ties as they support their parents and each other. They emerge out of the chaos with indomitable resilience and a matter-of fact approach to the harsh realities of their lives. Each handles events in the way that best suits them. These are tough children, taught from birth to be ( sometimes stupidly) unafraid of anything, with a high pain tolerance threshold, ready to physically fight in their own and each other's defence.
As you read this book you go on tour with the family through Kentucky, and end up in a dreadful little place in the Appalachian mountains. You see these places through the eyes of a child, and you endure with the family.
By the time you reach the end of this book you have exhausted your emotions. You'll go from sad to laughing at the craziness of it all. You'll feel horror, disbelief, intense anger and mortification as you get to know the family. And you'll feel awe as you understand how Jeannette has written with respect, love and grace about each member of her family.
Lessons learned as a writer
This memoir wonderfully demonstrates the importance of character development in a story. It also shows how dialogue gives predictability and power to the characters. And it emphasizes to me how characters based on real life knowledge reign supreme for any type of story.
There's no doubt this gripping memoir is for adults, although it would be a fascinating story also for teens, showing that Facebook bullying really does not even compare with the resilience needed by some children who suffer it in real life. There are maybe a couple of words of very minimal adult language, only in dialogue context.
I can heartily recommend this book as being a more than worthwhile read.
It was written in 2005, and on the New York Times bestseller list for three years. It is also winner of a Books for a Better Life Award, and winner of a Christopher Award.
And to think Vicki was concerned about her ability to write a good review ... ☺
I think she did great!
That's it for this one and looking forward to seeing you back again on Thursday for femme's Desk!
God bless you, thanks for the read and please don't forget to thank a veteran at your next opportunity!
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