Well. I will start by saying that Jeannette Walls is an excellent author, and I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style. This is NOT a novel, which makes this a fascinating read. Walls was raised by both a father and a mother who would, I imagine, consider themselves "nonconformists." That's a nice way of saying that these children basically raised themselves. I can't tell you the number of times I wanted to reach into the pages of this book and absolutely throttle the parents who would put their children through this kind of neglect. They weren't physically abused--but what kind of mother hides under the covers devouring candy bars while her kids are freezing and hungry? The very fact that the kids mostly turned out fine is, if nothing else, a miracle.