I'm feeling a little guilty after my last posting on this book where I commented on Jeannette Walls' 'mouth full of teeth'. That's because I've just reached the bit where, aged about 12 or 13, she confesses that she has buck teeth. Since their way of living hasn't improved, she realises that the chances of her having braces fitted - at a likely cost of 1,200 dollars - are extremely slim she takes matters into her own hands, devising ever more ingenious ways to correct the problem as she sleeps.
First it's rubber bands, of increasing tightness - with the risk of choking on one that slips off in the night. Then it's a metal coat hanger bent into a horseshoe shape, again fitted in place in secret as she goes to bed.
And as a true comment on the lack of parental concern for their children, when her father discovers what his daughter is doing to herself, his comment is, 'Those braces are a goddam feat of engineering genius . . . You take after your old man . . . And I think they're by God working.'