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)
Best book ever. this is a must read. when I first started reading this book, it was like any other book at first on how people had problems and what not, but when I kept reading further in to the 2nd and 3rd chapter, story got very interesting from there.
You don't need a license to become a parent, but the story of the Walls family demonstrates that love and resilience can sometimes overcome parenting that would, in my neighborhood, get the kids removed to foster care. Jeannette Walls' love for her hopelessly flawed parents is a testament to their innate good intentions, despite alcoholism, narcissism, mental illness, and laziness. Most heartbreaking were the stories of children raising themselves while finding money to support their parents' addictions, including the dad's attempt to pimp his 13 year old daughter at a hillbilly tavern. An excellent performance of a compelling story.
I had been recommended this read from many and I'm so glad I was able to listen to it!! Such a heartfelt story, I didn't want it to be over
"The Glass Castle" a required book for one of my classes in school so I wasn't expecting to enjoy it much. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Sadly I could relate with much of the story, which was comforting in a way. Gives me hope.
The author gives accounts of her life and her family from her perspective but is truly evaluative of her surroundings. It is projective of many households and you actually feel in the moment of the readers memory. Makes you want to know more...
A wonderfully unique story, beautifully written and told with raw authenticity. Submerge yourself for awhile in a world we all can somehow relate to and appreciate.
i dont even know how to express my love for this book. it was so well written and the perspective was amazing. the author wrote from the perspective of the age she was while she wrote about that age in her life. You can read the change in her views and how she sees the world and her parents as she matures and grows. its a sad story at some points but also wonderful. A TRUE REAL story that makes you think and opens up the way you see some of the kids and people around you. I cant give it enough praise. READ IT! i couldnt take my ear buds out.
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