Jeannette Walls had a very unusual childhood. She lived with her 3 siblings, alcoholic dad and artist mother traversing the country, hardly sticking around in a city for very long. Her father dreams of making it rich off gold but can't hold a steady job while her mom has a teaching degree but doesn't want to fit in be pigeon holed in to that lifestyle when she just wants to be free.
The kids are very smart, but not from schooling as they keep moving around and living unconventionally. However they are pretty much left entirely to their own devices. At the age of 3, Jeannette is trying to making herself a hot dog and sets herself on fire, having to go to the hospital. There are at least three times mentioned in this book where one of the kids almost dies due to the neglect of their parents, though it's not presented that way at all in the book. Jeannette clearly loves her parents though by the time she grows up she's completely exasperated by the way they choose to live. I honestly cannot understand how parents who love their children can let them go hungry (by choice) and leave them completely to their own devices so that they risk injuring themselves.
Though Jeannette never presents herself as the victim in this book, it's hard not to come away feeling angry at her parents for her. It's also unbelievable how well the children turned out given the environment they were brought up in.
This was a very interesting and engaging book. I picked it up pretty cheap at a used book sale and it was definitely worth the price!
First Line: "I was sitting in the taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster."