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)
Jeanette Walls has a gift for vivid imagery, and has a strong voice throughout the book. This memoir is for anyone who loves to root for the underdog.
I had to read this book for a class and didn't expect it to grow on me as it did. It had me in tears and it had me laughing. Unlike any story I've ever read.
Enjoyed this very much. Gives me great appreciation for my childhood. Never went hungry or homeless, but have gone without many times in my life because of money or the lack thereof.
This book was amazing in the way of survival and family dynamics being so different than most of our families.
I wouldn't even know where to begin in describing this book but was amazed how things turned out in the end. I'd highly recommend it. Truly fascinating!!
This book was not only captivating, but therapeutic for me personally. The writer brilliantly demonstrates how one child in a large family can singularly preserve the goodness of the word "family" in spite of her parents.
To start things off, I only purchased this book because I could not bring myself to continue reading the paperback for class.
The author reads her own book, to the detriment of the entire experience. From the little more than monotone reading style to the underwhelming story. The entire book reads like a bad emo punk song; I lit myself on fire, I am ashamed of my mom and dad, continue listing why life sucks for 5 hrs.
After listening to this I can only conclude is that Walls is a self centered and shallow person. With no right or reason to inflict her melancholy and damn all depressing existence on the world in book or audiobook form.
On a last note, any teachers or professors that would like students to have a life long love of reading do not even mention this book to them. Walk them back from the bottomless pit of self pity and family shaming.
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