My final semester (ever!) of college has been a bit of a disaster as far as semesters go and I know most of my class feel the same way. The semester began with a collective panic about our theses and the hours spent in the library in the first six weeks of the semester probably amounted to more than the previous three years altogether. I went to the first couple of classes of the semester in order to suss out what essays needed to be done. After that, my time was mainly spent writing my thesis and complaining about my thesis. When the thesis was finally submitted on 6 March, I had the best intentions for the rest of the semester. I envisioned Golden Weeks and assignments being completed on time. Instead I got cans of cider and Arrested Development. And I’ve forgotten how to do college.
I went to a class on Thursday in the hopes of getting some inspiration for my final essay. The class, Sociology of Gender & Popular Culture (my wet dream), focused on zombies and monsters in pop culture as commentary on the current economic and political climate. Not particularly interesting for a girl who only recently learned (and subsequently forgot) how banks work. But I spoke to the lecturer after class and got a heads up on what to read in preparation for my essay (an analysis of Supernatural in relation to monsters and hegemonic masculinity). So all’s well that ends well. I also ventured into my feminist literature class today for some extra knowledge on my essay on The Glass Castle. It wasn’t entirely beneficial but I did have a wee cake afterward (Broderick’s Bars and Cakes’ Rocky Road for Rockin’ Rebels which, according to the packaging, is “100% for men!”).
… what I did know was that I lived in a world that at any moment could erupt into fire. It was the sort of knowledge that kept you on your toes.
The Glass Castle is a great book. It’s one of those ubiquitous sob stories about a crap childhood. Depressing but addictive and extremely popular. Maybe it’s the voyeur in us that compels us to read about lives which are so different from our own. Most of us (thankfully) can’t relate to the sad stories of neglect and abuse in books like A Child Called ‘It’, Piece of Cake or Angela’s Ashes. But by reading 200 pages of what amounts to a life, we can safely peer into that world. In the case of The Glass Castle, author Jeannette Walls claims that that is exactly what she wanted in writing her memoir. She hoped that a ‘rich kid’ would one day read her story of poverty, squalor and adversity and that that ‘rich kid’ would then be a little more compassionate towards, for example, the kid in their class who might sometimes show up to school in old, dirty clothes and without a packed lunch. Equally Walls wished that a kid like her, a poor kid, would read her story and see a glimmer of hope: life can and does get better.
The book is a great read and I’d recommend it for a fetishistic glimpse into another world. It’s also an inspiring although often unbelievable yarn. It’s allegedly set to become a movie so the literary-adverse among you can hold out for that. My own personal trauma starts this week when I attempt to write an essay on the bugger.