Compare and contrast Coming Clean and Glass Castle.
Join Date: 07/28/11
Join Date: 07/28/11
I read Coming Clean on Friday, and re-read Glass Castle (by Jeannette Walls) on Sunday. I was struck by how similar both memoirs were in how both authors dealt with their family stories, and how much each woman went on to accomplish.
Both authors loved their families in spite of everything, and both went on to become highly successful journalists--and became very different people from their parents. Also, all of the parents seemed to struggle with some degree of mental illness, while the authors managed to escape it.
One major difference for each family was the fact that Jeannette Walls had siblings, while Kimberly Miller did not. I found it interesting that Jeannette was very close with her siblings and seemed to not make other childhood friends, while Kimberly was eventually able to bond with other children to form solid friendships and healthy relationships with her peers.
All of the parents in each memoir were extremely intelligent, despite their mental illness. One of the big differences was that Jeannette's father, Rex Walls, was constantly breaking the law while Brian, Kimberly's father, did not. Neither man was able to hold down a very steady job; both were the sons of at least one alcoholic. Rex was an alcoholic, while Brian was not.
Both daughters were protective of their fathers and often sided with them over their mothers. I thought it was interesting, too, the difference between the mothers. Walls' mother, despite her intelligence, was quite neglectful and not very loving, while Miller's mother, Nora, seemed more capable of loving her daughter and was much more nurturing.
Both women ended up in New York City (well, now Walls is in Virginia), and found solace in writing.
There are many other interesting similarities and differences, I just thought that these stories had much in common.
If you've read both, what do you think?
Join Date: 05/19/11
I found Coming Clean much more enjoyable. There were some similarities in the two stories, but much more warmth to Coming Clean. There were times I was upset with the characters in Glass Castle, where I didn't feel the same with CC. I didn't think Walls's parents were as caring as Kim's parents. Do you really think Kim's mother would have eaten the candy??
Join Date: 11/03/11
I thought Glass Castle was magnitudes better because of the level of detail and the intensity of the writing. I actually felt the pain and understood the incredible damage that was done to all the children of that poor family. Coming Clean was happier, funnier, less terribly sad, but it seemed to me to be too shallow. Kimberly Miller gave us less insight into the character of her parents, I thought, and inadequately explained how her life is affected now by the odd upbringing she had.
Join Date: 07/28/11
While I agree that Glass Castle was more intense, I didn't think Coming Clean was shallow at all...with CPS, rats, a fire, a suicide attempt - that's heavy stuff for anyone, let alone a child!
And djn, I do think Nora was a much more engaged and loving mother, but I cannot fathom living in or allowing my child to live in that kind of filth. Then again, I have a ridiculous phobia of rodents!
I thought both books were excellent, and I have deep admiration for both Kimberly and Jeannette for overcoming their obstacles, becoming healthy adults, and for managing to see the best in their parents.
Join Date: 08/23/11
I did think The Glass Castle was much better, but maybe it is because I read it first. Neither one had very good writing, more like journalism, but the content was really interesting. I didn't care for Jeannette Wall's mother as much as Kimberly's, but somehow I think The Glass Castle was more compelling. They are both about a human overcoming terrible odds to become successful and still have good feelings about their parents, even though they have come to terms with the way their parents raised them. They both seemed to feel that their parents were good people who lost their way and became unable to help themselves.
Join Date: 07/30/13
Glass Castle is one of my favorite books. The similarities exist in the type of squalor the families lived in, the parent's inability to see the effect that their decisions had on their children, or if they recognized it, the inability to make change. Mental illness is a pervasive theme in both books. I am impressed by the ability of both writers to overcome their childhood. I wish that Ms. Miller had offered more insight into the practical aspects of surviving while she was growing up. How was she able to hide her living situation from her friends? People talk, her neighbors must have been aware of her circumstances. How was her mother able to keep purchasing things when she did not work and her father was a bus driver? Was eviction a common occurence? Perhaps in trying to protect her parents she avoided critical detail. The Glass Castle is much more forthcoming and honest
Join Date: 03/13/12
I absolutely loved The Glass Castle and recommended it to numerous people, telling them they HAD to read it. I did not love Coming Clean and I'm not sure I would be telling people to read it as a good read. In trying to pinpoint what I did not like about the latter book I think that at times the plot strayed too much into the author's everyday life, for example with dating. When the author again focused on how hoarding was affecting her life in various ways, then it became interesting again. With Jeanette Walls's book I never felt as if there were these lapses in interest.
Join Date: 07/31/11
It has been awhile since I read Glass Castle but it is one of the most memorable books I have ever read. I really liked Coming Clean too but I agree with Michelew that this book doesn't have the depth of Glass Castle. I liked the way that both books describe growing up in a dysfunctional family through the child's perspective. Both authors tell their stories honestly and do not ask the reader to feel sorry for them.
Please login to post a response.