5 Stars - Read April 24, 2013
This is the biography of Jeannette Walls and her "unconventional" upbringing. Tales of bouncing from house to house - to being followed by the FBI (a/k/a bill collectors) - to being homeless and "camping" - to finally ending up in a shanty near the paternal family in the Appalachians. The parents were developmentally delayed (to put it kindly) with no sense of responsibility when it came to caring for the children. A mother who was more concerned with being an "artist" than putting a meal on the table and an alcoholic father who couldn't grasp the concept that he was letting the family down led to the most extreme dysfunction imaginable.
It was the reading equivalent of watching a trainwreck. I was completely horrified and thoroughly disgusted by the adult family members throughout the entire book, but I just couldn't put it down. Amazingly inspirational in that people could grow up in this kind of family and not only somehow manage to get out, but to be successful members of society.