Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly.
Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict". Cooking a meal that would be consumed in 15 minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town - and the family - Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.
©2005 Jeannette Walls (P)2010 Simon and Schuster Audio
"Jeannette Walls has carved a story with precision and grace out of one of the most chaotic, heartbreaking childhoods ever to be set down on the page. This deeply affecting memoir is a triumph in every possible way, and it does what all good books should: it affirms our faith in the human spirit." (Dani Shapiro, author of Family History)
"The Glass Castle is the saga of the restless, indomitable Walls family, led by a grand eccentric and his tempestuous artist wife. Jeannette Walls has survived poverty, fires, and near starvation to triumph. She has written this amazing tale with honesty and love." (Patricia Bosworth, author of Anything Your Little Heart Desires and Diane Arbus: A Biography)
"Just read the first pages of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, and I defy you not to go on. It's funny and sad and quirky and loving. I was incredibly touched by it." (Dominick Dunne, author of The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper)
I loved this book could not put it down.
I loved when Rex was dropping off moutain goat at the bus to leave for NY. I teared up.
She was such a strong person and I knew her father was proud.
An awesome coming of age story that details, although a group of individuals can go through the same experience, they can evolve to different conclusions. Through the daily monetary struggles (from the diehard non-conforming parents) of not meeting realistic living conditions (food, shelter, electricity etc.) Mountain Goat (lead character/author) learned the value of a dollar and the art of budgeting.
The story was so0 real, the imagery was fantastic. The love Mountain Goat had for her father was to a fault. When he would have asked me for money that belonged to the house for the month’s budget, I would not have given it to him – NO WAY! After maturing a bit, the plan the siblings came up with was genius. It was going through the hardships that made the older children into responsible individuals. The baby of the family had the classic entitlement syndrome.
This work of art was sad, FUNNY, endearing and hard to believe with incredible detail. The pool hours and cost deal stood out. The dad coming through for Mountain Goat for school was a tear jerker.
This book is a wonderful memoir! The events are so dramatic, you can't believe that a family, let alone a little girl, has to go through all that. You can't help but become Involved and feel apart of their lives.
Simply amazing that Jennette was able to tell the story of so many chapters in her bizarre life. When most would have bottled then up inside, her sharing them were a healing it seems and was something I could identify with having come from coal region life as well as family who were raised in Appalachia. I knew people who had similar lives in some respects. but her?? Wow. I would love to write a more thorough review but I need some time to reflect. However I could not put this down much at all in the past few days since I started it so that must tell you something about this life. More to follow......
I like memoirs and zombies; funny and scary stories... I smell a book!
Wasn't sure about this book at first. But what a crazy story! And even if not completely true (seeing as I don't remember anything from when I was 2 or 3) I was totally entertained. The author - obviously not in the business to be a voice over actor - was tolerable and I enjoyed it being read by the person who lived it. I SMH, I laughed, I was inspired even and extremely intrigued.
Also... as an afterthought... I liked that it wasn't too "deep" in the "life lesson learned" blah blah - just a great memoir with no underlying message (at least none that I took as revelationary).
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