Tuesday, January 12, 2010

'When you are ready to face your past'

We all have demons, and for me, my demon was the truth- my demon was who and what I was. It was the poverty, the constant moving, my eccentric parents who scavenged for garbage. No one knew anything about it. My husband and I were friends for a long time before we married, and he didn't know a thing about my past. He's from an upper-middle class background, his father was a diplomat, and I was nervous about what he would think. But he was the only person in my 20 years in NYC who said, "There's something that doesn't add up about your past."
It took me until I was almost 40 years old to sit down and write my story in earnest. My husband pretty much hog-tied me to the desk and told me to do it. But the journey didn't really begin until my mom said, "Just tell the truth." She not only challenged me but gave me permission.
The truth is a squishy little creature that takes lots of different shapes and forms, and I had been running from it for a long time. But cone I turned around and looked it in the eye, I understood the truth truly couldn't hurt me. We're stronger than our demons, because we created them, and we've got to stare them down. And I've come to believe that, very often, what we think is least attractive about us- our faults and our flaws- is actually our greatest sources of strength. When you get down to it, they're the best things we've got going.
-Jeannette Wells

Jeannette Wells is the author of the bestselling memoir The Glass Castle. If you have not read this book, I recommend running out and buying it now! In her book, Jeannette tells her story of growing up in a dysfunction family; a father who was brilliant when sober and not stealing from the family, and a mother who would rather paint a picture to last a lifetime than care for her children. It is amazing that Jeannette turned out to be a "normal" adult being that her parents never showed her the way growing up.

I enjoyed reading Jeannette's story, yet at the same time I found myself angry at her parents. Her parents put their needs before their children's, whether it be her father stealing money so he can get drunk or her mother not working as a teacher because she would rather paint all day. I am not saying that I know what a "normal" family is, but this book made me be thankful that my parents ensured there was a roof over our heads and food on the table. It also made me realize what an important role being a parent is; you are the ones who shape and direct the children to become responsible adults.

If you have read this book, what were your thoughts after reading it? How did you view Jeannette's parents while reading it and once done?

1 comment :

  1. I read this book awhile ago & thought it was so good. And so disturbing. Did you know she has another book out? It's in hardcover so I haven't bought it yet - plus i am trying not to buy books until I have read the unread ones I own (and that is alot of books!).

    Everyone I know that has read this has really liked it so I always recommend it to others - even though it is a very heavy read.

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