Phil & Mel In The Afternoon

Weekdays 3:00PM-7:00PM

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In 2005, journalist Jeannette Walls published a captivating memoir entitled The Glass Castle. The story of her upbringing within an extremely dysfunctional, but also loving, family dynamic stayed on The New York Times Best Seller list for 261 weeks. This Friday (8/11), we’ll be able to see if Hollywood did it justice on the big screen. But I strongly recommend reading the book as well.

As Jeannette and her siblings were growing up, the Walls family dealt with near-constant hardship triggered by their father’s alcoholism, irresponsibility, deceit, and cruelty. Their mother’s enabling and depression compounded these problems, despite her best efforts to keep the family from completely going under. This was no small task given the Walls’ pattern of unemployment, frequent relocation (California, Arizona, Nevada, West Virginia, New York), abject poverty, hunger, and even homelessness. It’s truly remarkable that any of the Walls kids managed to come through the instability to lead productive lives.

I like the casting in the film adaptation of The Glass Castle. Academy Award winner Brie Larson (top) plays the part of the adult Jeannette, through whose eyes we take in the poignancy of the Walls family saga. Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson take on the roles of the parents, Rose Mary and Rex Walls. Over the past ten years, Harrelson has made a very strong case for himself as one of America’s finest actors. He could finally win his first Oscar with this performance.