I recently finished a remarkable memoir by Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle. More avid readers will probably already have discovered this gem (published in 2005) but, in case – like me – you tend to be late to the party, I want to recommend it to your attention.
Walls begins with a remarkable anecdote. She leaves her Park Avenue, New York apartment for a party and, as her taxi is stopped in traffic, she notices a woman dumpster diving in an alley. She then realizes the woman is her mother…
What a beginning! From there, we journey with her back into her childhood and learn that, even in the world’s richest nation, there are remain levels of grinding poverty that beggar the imagination.
I read this memoir shortly after seeing Slumdog Millionaire, a film which contrasts incredible squalor with India’s booming economy, and I have found myself realizing (yet again) that what I take for granted (electricity, hot water, sanitary conditions, an abundance of food…) is beyond the reach of millions and millions of my sisters and brothers. A sobering insight, to say the least.