Book Review: The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

The Glass Menagerie: Tennessee Williams, Robert Bray: 9780811214049: Books

Title: The Glass Menagerie

Author: Tennessee Williams

Genre: Classic Plays

Number of Pages: 104

Rating: B+

Recommended?: Yes

This is the first play I’ve read by Tennessee Williams, and it’s gotten me interested in reading his other work. The Glass Menagerie is a tender, sad play about a dysfunctional family made up of a frustrated son, overbearing mother, and painfully shy daughter. The mother, Amanda, feels that her daughter Laura’s only hope for a comfortable life is to find a man who will marry her, and she sets her up on a date with a guy from her son Tom’s work.

Laura is terrified of social interaction and her mother coerces into a situation she’s not comfortable with, leading to awkwardness and heartbreak. I felt so bad for Laura in this play. I have a lot of social anxiety so I felt I had a certain amount of understanding of what she was feeling, even though my shyness is nowhere close to as bad as hers.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Tom’s ongoing monologue, I felt like it took away from the immediacy of the story. I also didn’t like the inclusion of the word and image prompts that were supposed to appear on the screen during the play, it was distracting. The interactions between the family members feel very realistic and even though the mother’s character pissed me off, her behavior is a sad indicator of the limited options women had during this time in history. Her fear of Laura becoming a ‘spinster’ leads her to put her in a harmful situation but possibly her basic intentions are good.

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