Una Carta a Jeannette Walls/A letter to Jeannette Walls

Querida Jeannette Walls, 

Me llamo Emerson. Yo leí tu libro Glass Castle como un júnior y es difícil naturaleza me tocó profundamente. Me encantó mucho. Me ayudó a darme cuenta de la suerte que yo tengo.

Sinceramente, Emerson

Dear Jeannette Walls,

My name is Emerson Ballou. I read your book, The Glass Castle, as a Junior and its hard-hitting, tough nature touched me in a way no other book has. I will admit no book has ever made me reflect on my life as much as yours did. Many times I found myself trying not to judge your stories but to understand the deeper meaning behind them. I’ve never read a book that’s both beautiful and dysfunctional all at once, which is why I think it captivated me so much. 

This book has reminded me to step back and take a moment to appreciate the life I have and the people I’m surrounded by. It is unique to read a book these days where nothing is sugar-coated, which I think is what makes reading it such a raw and beautiful experience. When racking my brain trying to find words to describe how I felt when reading The Glass Castle I realized that there was no emotion I hadn’t felt at some point in the journey that you took me on as a reader. There were moments I could feel your pain and trauma and others I could feel the genuine love and warmth between you and your family. How you were able to bring your readers on such an amazing, emotional rollercoaster I will never understand but will always deeply admire. 

Your complex relationship with your father was something I struggled with understanding throughout the whole book. It was clear how much he loved you and your siblings but the way he showed it always perplexed me. What the readers can infer about his troubled childhood could explain his struggles with alcoholism and fatherhood. As a reader looking in I was able to see right through the facade he had put up. I immediately realized that he’s driven by fear. Your father considers himself to be caged in a society that expects him to have a job and support his family, the complete opposite of what he wanted to be doing. We constantly see him struggling to keep a job and stay in one place for a long time. In his head, he thought he was teaching you and your siblings the skills that he never was taught but he was leading you blindly and ignorantly. Like your father, it may be hard for us to accept that we don’t always know the answer to all of the universe’s questions. However, if your father’s rocky journey has taught me anything, it is that nobody should be afraid of what they don’t know and to always be open to adapting to a better version of yourself. 

Books like yours, that help people feel again, are becoming more and more important than ever. Our society is severely lacking empathy and compassion right now and books like The Glass Castle gives me hope that we will be okay. It is astonishing how you were able to turn the pain of your childhood into what made your future so successful. Nowadays it is so easy for us to judge others quickly based on our standards of what is right and what is wrong. Your book has shown so many people how closed-minded and pointless that is. As humans we should constantly be striving to improve and push ourselves out of the constricting boxes we put ourselves in and your book has pushed so many people to do that. 

You proved to me and so many others that you can make whatever you want out of your life with dedication and commitment despite any skeletons you may have in the back of your closet. Your book has provided many teenagers a new perspective that shocks them to their core and leaves them thinking not just with their heads but with their hearts as well. 

I look forward to the next book of yours I get to read. I can’t wait to have my mind be opened to a new and beautiful perspective. 

Sincerely, Emerson Ballou

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