As Jeanette Walls reveals this unraveling tale of her childhood she spares little to no detail from scrutiny, least of all the faults she finds in her father. As the reader enters the scene of her earliest memory the irrational thought process of her mother is instantly brought to light. A toddler catches herself on fire while attempting to cook hotdogs and who is to come to the rescue?
Her mother rushes her to the emergency room and her severe burns are treated. However, when the rest of her family enters into the scene the complexity of her perplexing story intensifies. With unkempt siblings and parents who hold bizarre morals a complex family architecture emerges. A structure revolving around Jeanette’s parents distrust for authority figures and disregard of societal norms. After almost six weeks in the hospital the family decides to check Jeanette out “Rex-Walls style” and Rex runs out of the hospital with his little girl in his arms to the idling car in waiting with the rest of the family inside (14).
As their epic of a shifty nomadic lifestyle unfolds the intense bond between Jeanette and her father becomes unmistakable. She is the classic daddy’s little girl and relishes the small adventures she takes with her father along with the fantastical daydreams regarding the development of their ever elusive Glass Castle. However, she is slowly ripped from her flawless view of the monster slaying father whom she idolizes as his severe dependence upon alcohol surfaces. This stark reality takes its first hit when the young boy, Billy Deel, shows Jeanette his father passed out and soiled from intoxication and then claims their fathers’ similarity by saying “I know your daddy ain’t nothing but a drunk like mine” (83). This statement causes a harsh reaction of blunt denial by Jeanette and her refusal to ever view he father as someone who would piss himself after becoming too drunk. While the realization of her father being a drunk becomes concrete she still holds fast to her view of her father as an upstanding figure in her life.
When Jeanette turns ten her faith in her father is again shaken. Rex tells Jeanette she can ask for anything for her birthday present but then she asks him to quit drinking. This request is taken to heart by Rex and he goes through several days of severe withdrawal in order to complete it. His promise stays intact for the better part of the summer but one night he slips and even after his massive ordeal to stay clean for Jeanette after one night his life again begins to revolve around the bottle. The firm figure of her father blurred further and her faith in him began to slip away with this direct affront to her request.
Underlying reasons for Rex’s alcoholism:
As life again becomes unsteady the family moves onward and this time they end their journey in Welch, West Virginia which was Rex’s home town. As Jeanette and her siblings look forward to meeting their father’s mother they hope she will be as...