My thoughts on The Glass Castle…

The Glass Castle

Well, to start off I would like to say that this book took me longer to read than I would’ve liked it to. It’s not a very long book so normally I would’ve had it done in a day or two…maybe a week tops if I had a busy week. But it took me months to get through this book. No that’s not me saying that I didn’t like the book, to be honest I loved it! But there were parts that would just….anger me and I would have to put it down and walk away from it for a while.

 

The Glass Castle is a memoir written by Jeanette Walls, which details her unconventional childhood. She grew up with an alcoholic father and a mother who seems to be mentally ill. Walls began her memoir by why she felt the need to write about her family. She has finally “made it”, a successful writer in New York City. One day as she’s strolling down the street she comes across her mother…picking out of the dumpster, and out of shame, she sinks down into the seat of her taxi and pretends that she didn’t notice her. Later she will confront her mother, asking her what she is supposed to tell people about her parents. Her mother replies by telling her to tell the truth….simple as that. If you think about it, it’s really not that simple.

As Walls tries to come to terms with her upbringing throughout this memoir you begin to realize that The Glass Castle is anything but simple. We begin by learning of her young childhood on the west coast, her parents living as nomads. They moved so often between desert towns, always looking for the next big “adventure”. This chapter of Walls’ life we mainly get a look at her mother. She’s an artist and a writer, living in her own world. She doesn’t particularly show any concern in raising her children. She’s always looking for the next adventure…the next struggle. The family soon gives up their residence in Phoenix that her mother had inherited to move to her father’s home town of West Virginia…a small depressed coal town.

Once in West Virginia, the story begins to take a turn down a dark road. In this small town of West Virginia, the family begins to drift apart. Their father has taken a very dark turn, and up until this point he has always been the light of his daughters eye…..not so much anymore. Like their mother, their father has a big imagination. He takes small odd jobs that never seem to last long, and he is always chasing after this long lost dream to strike it rich with one of his crazy inventions. He continues to promise over and over again that once he strikes it rich he will build his family a “glass castle” – the most special project….a great big house for his family to settle down in. As their time in West Virginia goes on, things continue to get worse. However, Walls and her brother do their best to make the most of it. Feeding off of their father’s promise of the glass castle, they thought they would help him out by starting a hole in the backyard for the foundation of the new house. After it had been finished for a while, the family began to realize that there were certain things that they just couldn’t afford. One of them being trash pickup…which meant that the hole in the yard that was supposed to be used for the new house…would now be used for trash.

This is one of the situations that really angered me. These parents are just deliberately not taking care of their children. Making them empty promises and not caring how it could effect them later on in life. It really frustrated me that these parents…grown adults, could let their children go hungry, cold and without proper clothes or showers. These were the points where I had to put the book down for a while and breathe. The fact that I know there are still kids out there today that go through situations just like this one…makes me so angry. I feel for these children, I feel for the author, knowing that she lived this life.

Anyways…rant over. Determined not to end up like her parents, Walls moved herself to New York. She will go to college, graduate, gain employment as a writer, marry a rich husband, and settle down in her Park Avenue apartment. Walls tries to get her parents to visit her new apartment, to get a sneak peek into her new lifestyle. Her father of course refuses, her mother visits, but questions her values. Tells her that she raised her differently and that she shouldn’t be living the way that she is.

Umm values?? No offense but I didn’t realize that not feeding your children and basically living on the street were values that you wanted your children to pick up. I thought that parents were always supposed to want more for their kids. That they were supposed to want their kids to have more than they did, have better jobs, go to better schools. Just an overall better life. Instead, Walls has done just that and she is getting criticized for it….so unfair.

Now, I understand that there is probably more to this than meets the eye. Sure her parents were a drunk father and a somewhat lazy mother, but after reading and really reflecting on this memoir I feel like there are other lessons to be learned here. It reminds me of the quote….

money cant buy happiness

I mean if you think about it, as Walls grew up she never really seemed unhappy until she was really old enough to understand what was going on. Each time they moved she really did see it as an adventure. Did her parents always provide her and her siblings with the food, clothes and other things that they needed? No. But what they did provide them with was love and happiness. All of their kids grew up believing in themselves, with an appreciation for the things that most of us take for granted today but most importantly they were loved, unconditionally.

Though they struggled to get through this crazy thing called life, they did it. They all made it. Did they all make it big? No they didn’t but they made it. We all grow up with struggles, they’re all different. But our struggles are what make us beautiful.

 

Have you read The Glass Castle or maybe seen the movie?? If you have please let me know what you thought in the comments below! I would love to hear from you!!

XoXo Shelby

<a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/19195791/?claim=fymn2pphuc7″>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

 

Advertisements

Technology Takeover and burning books…

Now I will say that it has been a while since I read this book….I want to say that I read it in sixth or seventh grade? I’m 25 years old now, BUT I remember really enjoying this book! Now this is not going to be a typical book review. Yes I loved this book but in order for me to review it properly I would have to re-read it and my “to-read” list is a mile long right now. Maybe at a later date I will pick this book back up and give it a proper review. Until then I just want to discuss how I think this book relates to the world around us today. The more technology seems to develop, the more I feel like books are becoming more irrelevant. Does that mean they’re being banned? No they’re not, but I see it day in and day out…kids (and adults) just don’t like to read…and that makes me sad!

I feel like this book has more relevance (for lack of a better word) now than it did when it was written, but I’ll talk a little bit more about that in a minute. Before I do, let’s talk about what the story is actually about.

Set in the 24th century, Farenheit 451 tells the story of Guy Montag. Montag is a fireman and loves his job, you could even say that he takes pride in it. But this job isn’t like any fireman you would see around your city today, these firemen burn illegally owned books and the homes of their owners. Could you even imagine?!? I would be devastated if my house was burned to the ground because I owned a book (or multiple books because let’s face it I love books so in this setting I would be a rebel lol)! As the story develops, Montag begins to question the value of his profession and ultimately….his life. Through this novel we follow his struggles with his existence and eventually we follow him as he flees the oppressive, censored society that he lives in and joins an underground network of intellectuals. With his newfound friends, he witnesses the atomic destruction of his former city and dedicates himself to rebuilding a literate and cultural society. (Now that sounds like somewhere I would want to live!)

Continue reading “Technology Takeover and burning books…”

Mystery…Thriller…Suspense…

Okay so it’s been a minute since I’ve read this book but I do remember loving it so much that I couldn’t put it down, and frankly I didn’t want to!

Before I go into my review let’s do a little summary first.

From Goodreads:

Every day the same.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

Until today.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good??

 

Now if that alone doesn’t make you want to read this book I’m not sure what will!!

This is definitely one unsettling thriller. No one can be trusted in this story. If you had to choose between an alcoholic, a liar and a cheat who would you trust??? These are the three women who are at the center of this story: Rachel, Anna and Megan. Each girl has her own story, and in that story is nothing but secrets.

Have you ever sat in a public place and watched people as they went about their daily lives? As you did that did you imagine what their life story was? Maybe even make up some stories about them and their life? Do you imagine that they are living their perfect lives?

That is what Rachel does each day as she rides on the train to and from town. She uses the lives of others to distract her from the mess of her own life. She has grown particularly fond of the life of “Jess and Jason” (as she likes to call them) who live at the house just outside of her train window when the train stops at the same red signal each morning. However, one morning Rachel notices that things are not as they normally are. As Rachel is watching out her train window one morning she sees something that completely changes the life she has imagined for “Jess and Jason”. This event will pull her into their lives more than she already was, though she is unsure exactly what she has seen and what she has seen or what she might know, she feels the need to find out.

Rachel’s boozy behavior and alcohol habit leaves her as an unreliable sources when it comes to whatever happened between “Jess and Jason”. This behavior is also what got her fired from her job in London and her husband. Since their divorce, she has become obsessed with Tom (her ex husband), who left her for a blonde woman named Anna. Like any man who leaves his wife for another woman, Tom thought the grass was going to be greener on the other side…and unfortunately he was wrong. Anna’s personality has drastically changed now that they are married and have a young daughter. Rightfully so, Anna isn’t so fond of Rachel lurking around their house. But no matter what Tom says or does, Rachel lurks and pesters them and remembers none of it the next day.

Now let’s circle back to this Jess and Jason situation for a moment. One day as  Rachel is taking her daily commute to the city she sees Jess…kissing another man, or so she thinks that’s what she saw. Jess’ real name is actually Megan, and this life that is she lives is nothing like the one Rachel had imagined in her head. She is incredible restless with her husband Scott (better known to Rachel as Jason) and is having an affair with her therapist. Megan feels as if she doesn’t belong on this little suburban street in this life that she lives. She once worked at an art gallery, however when she lost that job…things changed. She is bored and restless and completely unhappy with her life. Then one day…she disappears…never to be seen again.

As you can imagine, the disappearance of Megan became a huge story and as it does Rachel feels that it is her duty to go to the police with what she saw from the train. Of course, no one is willing to take Rachel seriously; a random drunken witness just waltzes in off the street declaring she knows what happened to this missing woman??? I wouldn’t trust her either. As if this story line isn’t crazy enough already, remember how I mentioned earlier that Anna can’t stand the fact that Rachel tends to lurk around their house?? Well it’s about to get even worse because Megan used to be Anna and Tom’s babysitter for a hot minute (and was terrible at it), which of course connects Megan, Scott and Anna….which connects Rachel and Anna…making them potential victims to whomever took/hurt/killed Megan.

Will they find out who took/hurt/killed Megan? Was is her husband. the therapist, Anna or some random stranger? Did she run away from home? You’re going to have to pick this book up and read it for yourself to find out!!

The story continues to unravel with more lies, more back-stabbing and more secrets. I don’t want to give too much away, so I will leave you with what I have written.

Have you read Girl on the Train?? What did you think of it?? I want to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

XoXo Shelby

Mind…..Blown…..

Have you ever read a book and felt like you knew exactly what was going on the entire time?? Thought you had it all figured out….until the final few chapters and then all of a sudden the truth hits you out of nowhere? Yeah, that was this book!

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough is one of the most amazing, addicting, intriguing and consuming books that I have ever read. I can honestly say that I was consumed by this book. I stayed up way too late on one too many occasions reading this book. After the first night of reading the book, 92 pages in (30% of the book read at this point) I thought I had it all figured out. I wrote this comment on Goodreads “I’m addicted and starting to think I have a theory….don’t want to spoil anything for anyone but I feel like Adele has cancer or some other terminal illness at this point. She knows her husband is cheating but instead of getting angry she’s befriending his mistress and making a plan?”

 

Well….let me just say that I was so far out in left field with that guess that it wasn’t even funny! Okay maybe it was a little funny?? As I continued to read the book my mind did change a little bit and I think I came up with at least 10 other different scenarios that could’ve been possible. I’m not gonna lie for the longest time I honestly just thought that Adele was certifiably crazy! Then just like Louise I feel for her act and almost felt sympathy for her and began to think that David (her husband) was the crazy, manipulative and overbearing one in the relationship. But when I thought about that theory I thought to myself, that can’t be possible because he doesn’t treat Louise that way so why would he treat his wife that way?? Granted it could have been because he wasn’t happy in the marriage but why not just divorce her? David and Adele had some secret that was holding them together but what could be so terrible that he can’t divorce her??

I could talk about this book for hours….in fact I talked about it to a friend for a good hour! But I don’t want to give any spoilers! So here is the summary that Goodreads has on their website.

“Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong – and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.”

After reading that I’m sure you know why I picked this book for my selection from Book of the Month! (I mean honestly this was the best idea ever….thanks Book of the Month for existing!!). This book clearly did not disappoint me one bit and I can promise you that if you read it, it wont disappoint you either!!

Have you ever read any other books by Sarah Pinborough?? If so what book was it and what did you think of it?? Have you read this book?? What did you think of it??? Leave it in the comments below!!! Happy reading!

Xo’s Shelby

271 Pages and Still I Needed More…

 

Have you ever read a book and not been 100% sure what was going on but you still wanted more? That was how I felt while reading Lucky You by Erika Carter.

I know that you’re probably thinking “umm if you don’t like it then why did you continue to read it?” Well, I can tell you that Carter’s writing was a huge part of what kept me reading. Her writing kept me glued and sucked in, so for that I loved it. But I also wanted so much more, and that was the worst part.

When I chose this book as my January selection for Book of the Month Club, I chose it because I felt that a book about twenty-somethings trying to find themselves would be right up my alley. I mean I am a twenty-something, granted I’m not trying to find myself but I felt like I might be able to relate a little bit. But I was wrong.

Before I get into my full review on the book I want to say this…

If you’re looking for a book about life, just something different from your own then this book might be of interest to you. There’s no big plot twist or anything that is going to completely blow your mind away, so if that’s what you’re looking for then look elsewhere.

I do feel that reading this book, a book that follows a group of people who make a choice to go off the grid for a year, especially in a world where we are so focused on technology and social media could be a good thing for everyone to experience. I mean haven’t you ever just wanted to unplug for just a day?!? I know I have! Sometimes the things I see on social media just drive me insane!

I challenge you to head to the library and check this book out. Give it a fair chance despite the other reviews that have been written online.

Now on to the review….

Part of me felt completely lost while I read this book. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. I found that I couldn’t relate to any of them on a personal level. I kept waiting and wishing that something would happen to give them a different path. Something that would allow them to grow, to mature, something to change the path of the story..

As I continued to read I kept holding onto this false sense of hope that I would be able to connect with just one of the characters in this book. I desperately wanted to connect with even just one character, even if it was just for a moment. But the more I read…the more I realized that probably wasn’t going to happen. Making a small connection to any of the characters, finding something that would help me to like them probably would’ve helped me to like this book a little more…but….nothing. Not having that…made this book difficult to read.

I felt that Ellie, Chloe and Rachel were unpleasant people. The background stories of each character were unclear and lacking in detail. Maybe I couldn’t connect with any of these women because I have not experienced anything that they had went through in this book. I loved the whole idea of the book, I just wish I could’ve connected with them more.

Now I don’t want to go too much into detail about why they are where they are just in case you want to read this book. So I will end my review there.

How do you feel about reading a book that you can’t connect to? How do you feel about reading a book that you don’t particularly care for? I’m the type of person that when I start a book I have to finish it, no matter what! Tell me in the comments below if you feel the same. Happy Reading!

Xo’s Shelby

 

4 Stars for The Trespasser

 

The Trespasser, a novel by the New York Times best selling author, Tana French is book number six in her Dublin Murder Squad Series.

The Trespasser was the first book of French’s that I have ever read, and I will say that I was not disappointed one bit!

The Trespasser follows Detective Antoinette Conway and her partner Stephen Moran. Conway is learning quickly that being part of the Murder squad isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact she’s convinced that the whole squad (aside from her partner), hates having her around. Her work life is nothing but pranks, harassment and pointless cases, but she tries to remain tough.

Conway and Moran land a new case that looks like another by-the-books lovers’ quarrel gone wrong. Aislinn Murray, a pretty, blond young woman, found dead in her perfect living room next to a romantic table-for-two dinner. What seems like an open and shut case, until Conway realizes that she’s seen this girl somewhere before.

Conway and Moran are doing everything that they can to solve this case, but in her gut Conway knows something isn’t right. Meanwhile, the other detectives on the squad are doing everything in their power to push them to make an arrest on Aislinn’s boyfriend, and they want it done fast. As if that isn’t suspicious enough, Aislinn’s friend continues to hint at the detectives that she knew Aislinn was in some kind of danger. As this case continues to unravel, Conway and Moran begin to think that Aislinn wasn’t exactly who they thought she was.

The constant harassment and pranks at work have gotten Conway a little more than paranoid with her every day life, and since taking this new case things have gotten worse. She’s spotted a shadowy figure at the end of her road, and she is starting to become unsure how far the squad would go to get her to leave. This case has her wondering, if it is just another step in their campaign to get rid of her, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface??

If you want to know what happened, because let me tell you, the ending will shock you, pick this book up! I highly recommend it and I will be reading more of her books in the near future!

Have you read any of Tana French’s other books? If so please leave it in a comment below! I would love recommendations!

Xo’s Shelby

 

The Time I Started A Blog…

 

Where do I even begin??

Well I am so excited to be launching my blog! This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while now but I was afraid that no one would read it or no one would care about the things that I wanted to write about. But guess what, this girl is tired of not doing things because she’s afraid of what people will think!

Think about it, if we all decided that we weren’t going to do something because we were afraid of what other people would think, how many things would you have missed out on in life?? If I thought that way every single time that I wanted to do something, I wouldn’t have gone to college and changed my major 3 times. I wouldn’t have become a fitness instructor. The opportunities that I would’ve missed out on are endless, but I made the choice to take the leap, and now I’m doing the same with this blog.

We’ve established why I’m here…let’s talk about how I got here and let me help you to know me a little better.

For those of you that don’t already know, my name is Shelby. I’m 25 years young. I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio (Go Bucks!), where I still currently live. I grew up going to private Catholic schools my whole life and I loved every minute of it. The memories that were made those 13 years of my life were definitely some of the best.

After graduating high school I attended Ohio Dominican University (Go Panthers!!). When I got accepted into ODU I knew it was the perfect fit for me, it was a small campus that had that feeling of “home” and “family” which reminded me a lot of my high school. I went in as a pre-nursing major, after seeing many family members ill and seeing how some nurses and doctors treat their patients (bedside manner is important guys…), I felt that it was my duty to become a nurse and change the way patients were being treated. Well let me just tell you that didn’t last long. It wasn’t that I couldn’t handle the work load, trust me I love science. I am the type of person that cannot physically, mentally or emotionally separate herself from her work. I get attached to people easily and letting go is never easy for me. Being part of the pre-nursing program we had to have a certain number of volunteer hours at the nursing home on campus. I greatly enjoyed going and visiting with the sisters and brothers; hearing their stories and just chatting. But when you get particularly attached to one sister, as I did, and she passes away…I couldn’t handle it. Cue the first change of my major! I knew that I still wanted to do something in the science field so that was a start. My next option was to work with animals, not a vet or anything like that; I considered working in a zoo. But after about a year I began to realize that this wasn’t my passion. Although working with animals seemed like so much fun, it wasn’t something I saw myself doing for the rest of my life. After several meetings with my guidance counselor and academic advisor (who by the way was a rock star for putting up with me for 5 years…shout out to you Dr. T, I know I was a pain sometimes!), I came to the conclusion that I should’ve come to my first year at ODU. I wanted to be a teacher! A science teacher to be exact. So I changed my major for the third and final time, adding one more year to my time at ODU, which stressed me out a little bit. I wanted to be graduating with the rest of my class. But I took a deep breath and realized that if I wanted to be happy with my career, this was how I had to do it. Adding this extra year gave me the opportunity to not only pursue a degree in a career that I love, but it gave me the opportunity to meet some amazing people that I wouldn’t have otherwise met.

When people tell you that high school is the best and worst 4 years of your life….they’re not wrong…but they’re also not 100% accurate. Don’t get me wrong high school was both amazing and horrible at the same time, but nothing compares to college. The ups and downs that you go through…there’s no preparing for that. The number of all-nighters that I pulled writing a paper or studying for an exam, the number of tears shed when projects didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to, or machines were down when we had to do our Organic Chemistry Unknowns….I still have nightmares about that! I’m kidding, I don’t actually have nightmares about Organic Chemistry but I remember that night and that lab like it happened just yesterday. But I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Why? Because it got me to where I am today, and I can honestly say that I love where I’m standing.

There is so much more that I could tell you in this post about how college changed me…but I’ll save that for another day!

Xo’s Shelby