Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle: A MemoirI joined my first book club and our first book was The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.  This incredible memoir walks you through Walls' life as a child growing up in poverty, moving from place to place, and having dysfunctional parents.  Although she grew up wearing torn clothing, was not able to bathe often, dug through the trash for food, had an alcoholic father and an artistic free-spirited mother, she ended up thriving.  Her parents would not accept food stamps or help from anyone.  So the children, Jeannette and her three siblings were left fending for themselves.  

Walls is a wonderful and gifted writer.  She changed how I view people on food stamps.  It made me feel that food stamps should be more for the children than the parents.  It was heartbreaking to read about these children being hungry and Jeannette hiding out in the restroom during lunch and afterward digging through the trash and eating other kid's leftovers because there was no food at home.

Even though her parents seemed to neglect their children, they did have a great sense of adventure.  The beginning of the book life seemed so adventurous and it made me reflect on my own childhood as being a bit boring.  I never moved to another city until I went to college.  Her dad had big dreams but sadly was never able to fulfill them.  Even though he had a serious drinking problem, he believed in his children, took their fears seriously and when they were young would fight for them.  Her mom was unconventional and loved to live life on the edge.  It was clear she wanted to be independent and took pride in being different and taught her children that you don't have to be like everybody else.  In fact, you should not be like everybody else. 

The Glass Castle is an interesting and entertaining read.  It made me think a lot and reflect on my own life.  The only thing I did not like was the profanity.  Although her father's profanity was part of who he was, I would not recommend this book to young readers or people who are offended by profanity. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Perfect Parenting

Being a "perfect" parent and always knowing how to handle difficult situations with your child(ren) is impossible.  However, with the help of Elizabeth Pantley's Perfect Parenting: The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips, you will become better prepared.  

Perfect Parenting consists of three books divided into three parts.  The book lists common problems and situations that may occur while raising children.  The situations are alphabetized for easy reference.  Pantley takes a situation such as CHORES, how to get them done, and gives an example situation, followed by Think About It, giving you, the parent, encouragement to act, ending with several solutions to try.  If you don't like one or two solutions, try another.  Her actions are short and brief which makes her books easy to refer to when a problem arises.  There is so much great information in this book.  If you are a parent, buy it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Guy's Guide to Life: How to Become a Man in 224 Pages or Less

A Guy's Guide to Life: How to Become a Man in 224 Pages or LessA Guy's Guide to Life is an outstanding book.  The intended audience are middle and high school guys and I personally would consider it required reading for any guy in that age group.  It addresses so many of the challenging questions that teenagers ponder such as peer pressure, dating, how to dress, and sex.  My husband who is in his 30s enjoyed the book too and found many of the ideas informative even at his age.  Jason Boyett's writing comes across as very personal and real.  He encourages guys to think and act in a responsible way.  He does a great job at addressing many of the modern myths of masculinity.

Reading this book is like having an older brother who hands you a road map to adolescence success.  Although it is primarily written for guys, girls may enjoy having an insight to the minds of their male peers.  Some guys might find the chapters on relationships especially helpful as they talk them through many of the interactions they may find mysterious or challenging.  If you have a teenage son, buy them this book.  This book would be helpful to Christians and non-Christians.

Booksneeze provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.  This book is excellent and I highly recommend it.