A Project for Better Journalism chapter
A&E, Opinion, Showcase

A Glass Castle Broken

I read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls more than three times before it was turned into a movie and whenever I reread the book it is like I am reading it for the first time. The Glass Castle is a memoir about a woman’s life,  where she recounts her upbringing being in poverty and her dysfunctional family.

Wall’s story is so raw and honest that it inspired me to start opening up about my life to people. By the author being so open about her life it made me feel it was okay to talk about the intense aspects of my life.

This book captivates it’s reader through the multiple personalities presented like the mom’s freeness, the dad’s wildness, the mature older sister, and the dependable brother as well as the family dynamic. The story of a person coming from rags to riches, is what makes The Glass Castle a gem.

When I heard that it was going to be turned into a movie, my initial reaction was anger because this book has helped me go through very tough times in my life and inspired me to tell my story in the future. Hollywood does not stick with the actual events, often fabricating the story to make profit from it. There have been reports where screenwriters admit fabricating true stories. For example the screenwriter for Wolf on Wall Street, Terence Winter said in an interview that, “If it’s not a documentary- and nothing I’ve worked on is ever purported to be- then I have the latitude to say, ‘Ok, look, this is entertainment.” 

Hollywood is going to make this amazing book into a bandwagon book. Since the movie is a hit it encourages the audience to read the book making them think that the movie gave the book justification. People who watch the movie first then decide to read the book cannot fully appreciate the beautiful story. Audiences who watch the movie can also pressure others to read the book with them thus making it a bandwagon book, just like how The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, and the Twilight series became popular books after the movies  came out.

This being said I am truly frightened to know how the future of my favorite book is going to become. I do have a glimmer of hope that the movie will do the book justice based on the actors.

In an interview Walls admits, “When I watched the performance on tape, I was crying. I was trembling, pounding on the shoulder of the guy next to me”(New York Times, La Ferla). ” When describing Woody Harrelson & Brie Larson performances Walls says, “Just look at how good these actors are performing my life.”

If the author is riveted enough to make her cry then there may be hope that Hollywood did not ruin a beloved memoir.