After such a strong opening line, I was expecting this book to be a powerful, emotionally consuming read, but the whole thing just left a nasty taste in my mouth. Laura Weiss bravely tackles a taboo subject, but she just seems to skim the surface. I actually found her characterisation to be one-dimensional and often stereotypical. Everything seems glib and superficial and basically just not believable. It is as though Weiss is too afraid to to treat the controversial subject matter with the sensitivity it deserves. I wouldn't recommend this book at all. Such a shame.
While I was reading this book, I had to keep reminding myself that it was a memoir, a true story about someone's childhood. I found it shocking that Jeannette and her siblings were brought up in such a way, by parents who can be called "eccentric" (if we are being nice), or rather "neglectful" (if we are being honest). Their methods of child-rearing are tantamount to child abuse, in that they fail to provide anything at all for their children, apart from misery, poverty, hunger and desperation. That Jeannette Walls grew up to be a success is miraculous, given the circumstances of her childhood. She even manages to infuse humour into what would otherwise be a very bleak read… Read more
I bought this book not realising it was aimed at the teenage market, but I thought I would read it anyway. And I am so glad I did, because this is a book for everyone, regardless of age. It is the story of Tessa, 16 years old and dying of cancer. Tessa seems bolshy and defiant on the surface but, as you read on, you peel away the layers and find a mass of compicated emotions so powerful they grab you by the heart and tug very very painfully.
The writing is economical, simple to read. I read the book in two days. On the first day I felt mainly anger at Tessa's seemingly uncaring, selfish best friend ("It's always got to be about you!") and Tessa's flighty mother who is never there… Read more