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 am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.
It is hard to believe that people lead lives such as the one Walls narrates in this book. That a person can have an upbringing such as the one she had and turn out capable and well-adjusted is nothing short of a miracle. I loved that Jeanette developed strength from adversity and was inspired by her.
I did listen to Half Broke Horses, which I liked much better, but I probably would not listen to anything else without a very good recommendation. I really did NOT like this book, at all!
I think as the author she is too close to the story, and has only limited performance skills.
It was a waste of time. I did not find it entertaining or enlightening, just depressing and dismal.
Ms. Walls life story certainly suggests she has done well from difficult beginnings, but honestly there was just too much of the irresponsible mother and father who simply could not be bothered to raise or care for their children once they'd gotten around to having them.
This was an interesting story with a great narration. It was a very intriguing and captivating story to listen to while simultaneously being productive. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in well written memoirs.
This was an incredible story! I admire the drive and persistence of the author and her siblings. They were truly blessed with spirit and fortitude to overcome. Read this book and appreciate what you have
Dark but tender read . You will have compassion for children growing up in such chaos And compassion for the parents who's madness and different mind set drives the story
Jeannette Walls in her memoir, The Glass Castle, paints a different picture of those to choose to live outside the box. She paints a vivid picture of her parents and their dual decision to reject the conventional trappings of society. Both self-obsessed, they gave birth to a band of offspring--never children, always adults.
On a personal level, there were parts of this book that struck chords vaguely familiar--a long time ago when every need was justified by a hard lesson learned.
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