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The Glass Castle: A Memoir | [Jeannette Walls]

The Glass Castle: A Memoir

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. Rose Mary painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family; she called herself an "excitement addict."
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

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    Paul Johnson Pittsburgh 04-19-15
    Paul Johnson Pittsburgh 04-19-15 Member Since 2015

    PaulJ

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    8
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    Story
    "Really enjoyed the story"

    Having the author read the story was extra special! It was like meeting her in person and listening to her life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alejandra Maytorena-Diaz 04-09-15 Member Since 2015
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    2
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    Story
    "Wow"

    So sad . I am proud that they all became successful and created there utopia . I would read this book again

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cathy 04-08-15
    Cathy 04-08-15 Member Since 2012
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    3
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    "A Diamond in the Rough"

    Read this memoir and see how through years of "pressure" a diamond is made. Great memoir about survival and perception.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John D Strandell 03-22-15 Member Since 2013
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    21
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    "Amazing story of unconditional family ties."

    This was a comforting yet unbelieveable story giving hope to live and let live.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy 03-04-15
    Nancy 03-04-15 Member Since 2012
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    1
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    Story
    "Some people thought my family was poor, not so."

    I enjoyed the story so much. Mostly because it just seemed so unbelievable. I found my jaw dropped on more than one occasion. How about teaching your children to swim by abandoning them in deep water.
    I liked that the author was the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bulent Ottawa, ON, Canada 03-01-15
    Bulent Ottawa, ON, Canada 03-01-15 Member Since 2015
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    "A life story "

    For people who like to learn how different a growing up be and how life can still offer opportunities

    I believe even monotonously real, to be read by the star of the book adds value

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kirk M. Tolchin 03-01-15 Member Since 2015

    frog on rock

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    "Touching"

    Read it for class and will always remember it. Very touching story about someone who had it really b ad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shar 02-22-15
    shar 02-22-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Interesting story on families"

    I read this as part of a book club. Not a page turner, but interesting look at the choices people make and the impact on families.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    domonic 02-20-15
    domonic 02-20-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Best Book Ever!"

    I loved it and being only 12 it showed me be ever grateful and never feel bad for your self that gets you no where. strive for the best and when all else fails and try again.I can totally relate to the text having family issues of my own. And overall it made you feel a part of what was going on feel the emotion and give you a whole new look on life. So I'm only 12 but I think this is one of the best books I will ever read!!😃

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    meghan paradiso 02-13-15 Member Since 2012
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    3
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    "Inspirational"

    Makes you think about how we judge without knowing others, and how even those with challenges in their lives have truly wonderful stories

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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