Home Arts & Entertainment Jeanette Walls speaks at Fountain Street Church for Diversity Lecture Series

Jeanette Walls speaks at Fountain Street Church for Diversity Lecture Series

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By Scott Arkovitz
Collegiate Staff Writer

Jeanette Walls, Author of The New York Times Bestselling memoir “The Glass Castle” spoke at the Fountain Street Church for the second installment of the GRCC Diversity Lecture Series.

“I consider myself the luckiest person in the world,” Walls said. “The best part of a bad childhood is you learn to deal with turmoil in life.”

The lecture was held on Wednesday, October 26.  Walls’ lecture focused on her memoir “The Glass Castle,” detailing her poverty-stricken childhood, her alcoholic father, and a vagabond lifestyle.

“There were times when we didn’t have the conventions of modern plumbing and electricity,” Walls said during the lecture. “We moved more times than I could count before I was ten. We weren’t poor we were ‘po.’ We couldn’t afford the ‘OR’”

Walls recalled her childhood, not with bitterness, but rather with compassion and optimism.  “The worst experience in the world can have the most valuable gift inside if you are willing to receive it.” Walls said.

“It has been the greatest experience of my life,” Walls said when asked about speaking to others about her childhood.  “I reached a complete epiphany.  I thought I would be harshly judged after coming forward about my family, but quite to the contrary, people were extremely compassionate and kind.  Everyone is good natured you just have to be willing to realize it.”

Walls’ vision when writing her memoir was that “rich and privileged” kids would read the novel, and it would open their eyes about those around them in poverty.  “A blonde girl of 13 or 14 told me she read my book while vacationing with her family in the Caribbean,” Walls said.  “She told me there was a girl in her class that she and the other cheerleaders teased her for wearing ugly and out-of-date clothes.  She told me after reading my book she will never make fun of her again.  That, to me, meant my novel had achieved its goal.”

Currently, “The Glass Castle” has sold over 2.5 million copies and has been translated into 22 languages. It has received the Christopher Award, the American Library Association’s Alex Award, and the Books for Better Living Award, according to notablebiographies.com.  Walls has also published another novel, “Half Broke Horses,” which is a fictionalized tale about her grandmother.

The next lecture will be held at the Fountain Street Church on Wednesday, November 9 Featuring Maziar Bahari.  Bahari is a jounalist, film maker, and former Political Prisoner.  Bahari is also the author of The New York Times Bestselling memior “Then They Came For me.”