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 will be listening to the Glass Castle again but with my husband next time. I am sure there are parts of this story that I need to hear again.
The undying love that these children had for their parents and then when the children grew up they took over and raised their parents.l
Jeannette Walls was my favorite because of her "don't let it get her down" attitude.
A story of perseverance.
Really enjoyed this book and the stories that it told of a little girls life who made something out of virtually nothing.
Yes, this book was so unique and touching. I could re-read it a dozen times.
Any great memoir the gravel road reminds me a lot of glass castle.
When she broke free from the hellish life she had
the narration was horrendous! the author, who narrates the book, should have hired someone more experienced to narrate the story. in the beginning it was almost painful to listen to, but the book itself is a great story. I loved the book and because of that I give this a four start rating. I only wish I would have read the print version in this case.
The children lived through a tough life but the story focused on resiliency and love. I was totally wrapped up in these characters lives as they worked through challenges of parental self absorption. An inspiring story and worthwhile listen.
I already have. Story is close to home for many of us.
The bar story with her dad.
She brought real emotion to the book
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