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 had read and treasured this book years ago, and to find it on audio with the author reading it was a true gift. What these kids endured made my dysfunctional childhood seem perfect. Such deep and real life stuff....It would be a great movie. On to 'Half Broke Horses' next. Thank you Jeannette.
My life was changed after reading this book. I understood poverty before, but this is a whole new level of impoverished and struggling I never experienced or imagined. Previously I would see the homeless as unintelligent and defeated, thoughts I had never examined or questioned. Now, I see them as humans choosing a unique struggle, working to live life on their own terms. Highly recommended reading material, to say the least!
I always like when the author is also the narrator. Captivating story for many reasons. Shocking bits of real life stories that leave you scratching your head. Leaves me thinking I overthink this whole parenting thing at times and how resilient the human spirit can be.
Pumba with sauce
at first I thought I would struggle with Jeannettes voice, but in the end it only added authenticity to the story. I found the story to be heart wrenching and eye opening. I think Jeanette is very brave to share her story and I hope that it will change the way people look at the people living on the streets and people who are unfortunate. This is a good story for not only adults but I believe children and teenagers for maybe it would open their eyes and people could be a little but more compassionate and understanding. I believe may make it to my list of one of my favorite stories.
So many moments in this story had me pondering the things we take for granted or the way we see things around us but we don't know the whole story. I loved every minute of this story even though many times I wanted to sock Jeannette parent. Wonderful book
Walls told her story without any rancour or bitterness, in spite of the horrific circumstances of her childhood. I found it riveting.
Her depiction of her parents evoked unexpected sympathy for them, even while the reader/listener is horrified and outraged by their irresponsibility.
The story basically just shifts from one sequential life event to another. The plot has absolutely no climax whatsoever. The dad is a drunk that needs help and the mom is arguably the most unintelligent human on the planet, refusing to make a decent life for her family. Also, not to mention, the story just ends, as though the author had no idea how to end the story. I closed the book feeling no emotions at all, other than the fact that I finally finished this disgrace of a book. There was no happy emotions, sad emotions or feelings of ponder as the story ended.
The audio book performance was good. The reading was slow, however, I was able to speed it up.
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