Jeannette Walls Answers Your Questions

I absolutely would have told my story if my mother hadn't moved to New York. I hope I haven't embellished anything, but it's interesting -- I think we all interpret things differently. My brother Brian remembers the facts behind any given incident almost exactly as I do -- but sometimes his take on it is quite different. For example, there's a scene in my book that involves a cheetah. I remember it as a noble, gorgeous creature; Brian says it was sort of scrawny and mangy. I mentioned that to mom, and she said it was sort of both.

11. Curtis Graham, of Spokane, Wash., writes:

As a child, my parents were not always able to give us all the things we may have wanted or needed at times -- but we were rich with love and taught to reach for our dreams and to work for what we wanted. Do you feel you would be as successful as you are if you had more as a child?

Jeannette responds:

I don't mean to pass judgment on anyone -- and as I'm childless, I'm hardly an expert on the subject -- but I do think it's possible that some children today are given too much. A very smart woman who was interviewing me about "The Glass Castle" said that there's a school of thought that the most common form of child abuse in America these days is overindulgence. I find that just fascinating. A friend of mine who actually grew up with great privilege, told me that when she first started reading my book, she felt really sorry for me. Halfway through, she said, she started getting jealous. She explained to me that I had a sense of independence and self-reliance and was able to prove that I could do things on my own -- something she never had. A couple of people have reacted that way. (Not all, of course. Some, however, merely think my childhood was awful and deprived.) Isn't life odd?

12. Deb Scesa, of Rockville, Md., writes:

Would you be willing to come and speak to my students about your life and how you were able to overcome its obstacles?

Jeannette responds:

I hope this doesn't sound diva-like, but I'm sort of booked up for the next couple of months. Please contact my publicist, Lucy Kenyon at Scribners, and if I'm in the Rockville area, I'd be honored to speak to your students.

13. Sandy Richardson, of Fairmont, W.Va., writes:

What do you think was the turning point for you when you left home and moved to New York? Have you lost any friends since this story has come out?

Jeannette responds:

There were a number of turning points: Getting into college, getting my job at New York magazine. But perhaps the biggest was meeting John Taylor, the man who I ended up marrying and who convinced me to write "The Glass Castle."

I thought I would lose friends as a result of the book, but the opposite has happened. People I knew from years ago have looked me up and we've reconnected, people I've known casually for years have opened up to me and we've bonded, and complete strangers have started telling me intimate details of their lives -- and I feel like I've known them for years. I don't know of anyone who has decided to drop me as a friend because the story is out, but if there are any -- they weren't really friends in the first place.

14. Janice Wadas, of Largo, Fla., writes:

I admire you. I too want to write, not about my past but about my struggle to raise my two kids and my failure. How did you write the book without feeling like you were turning on your mother? What do your other two sisters think of the book? Do they agree?

Jeannette responds:

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