A sense of shame has never entirely departed

“If you grew up very self-conscious, feeling that you’re not as good as other people, I think that it defines you,” she said.

A sense of shame has never entirely departed. “Owning it, I don’t know if that’s a bad thing,” Ms. Walls said. “It’s important to tap into it and be in touch with it. For me, it’s part of process of storytelling.”

With the writing of her memoir, she let go of trying to bury the fact that she slept in a rope bed, defecated in a ditch and lived in ramshackle quarters whose ceilings and floorboards threatened to crumble at any hour.

“Somebody told me the secret to happiness is low expectations,” she said. “I still can’t believe that I have flush toilets, that I can go to a grocery store and buy whatever I want, which will never fail to amaze me.” […]

Nothing doing for Ms. Walls. “I wanted a place where I could go broke and still grow vegetables, bail water out of the creek and shoot deer,” she said. “If worse comes to worst, I’ll survive.”

~ Ruth La Ferla, excerpts from Jeannette Walls Settles Down Far From the Noise of New York, (The New York Times, August 5, 2017)

Notes: Jeannette Walls is the author of the best selling (and must read) memoir: The Glass Castle: A Memoir


  1. freddiegeorgia says:

    The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses…two of my all time favorite books. Truth is always so much more interesting than fiction…especially hard truths.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow.
    I struggle with the low expectations theory. The “if you want to be happy you have to have low expectations.”
    That being said, I know I can take a strike anytime. I’ve been there. The father I got to know was wealthy,my father, but grew up beyond poor. He made sure we learned. Oh we learned!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This was a very good book. It kept me thinking about it long after I read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Growing up poor, middle child most often hiding any needs I may have, yet being hyper-vigilant over what might happen or not happen due to my father’s alcoholism is a part of me that will never go away.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This opening statement is absolutely true. (Hit reply to soon)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. i loved her book and her story is such a powerful one –

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Growing up with contentment..desires controlled with eye on what is expected of me.
    A self analysis going on in mind, understand needs and differentiate from wants. You need to be good but if you want everyone else to think you are good, then please get rid of that want…you need to free yourself from others judging you. If you are poor or middle class..it means you can not afford a barbie doll but then you can be a doll yourself…a living doll .

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sounds like a great book and I think holding on to our shame or guilt, is actually what keeps us from expecting less than we deserve. It’s a work in progress for me too, but I think it’s worth the effort to heal.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I read both of her books. I heard that there’s a movie coming out as well, isn’t there? I will have to see the movie too. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I loved this book. Sometimes I wonder, if worst comes to worst, will I survive?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I haven’t read the book yet. Her comment, has me intrigued…..”if worst comes to worst, I will survive.”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Powerful book and her story is one that had to be shared. May be difficult to translate all of the trauma and emotion to the big screen ~ bests, MJ

    Liked by 1 person

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