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)
Absolutely! Although it took me a little bit to fully get into the story, once I did I couldn't wait to find out what happened!
Jeannette probably wouldn't be the best career narrator, but her delivery and accent reading her own memoir was pure authenticity, and once I realized that, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
I just couldn't believe there were parents in this day and age that were so oblivious to their children's basic needs! I couldn't believe what these children endured until they were old enough to care for themselves. Amazing. Fascinating. An awesome listen!
It's always refreshing to hear a book written in the author's own voice- the reader gets the intonations, pausing and emphasis directly from the source. Jeanette walls does a wonderful job with her wonderful story that captivated me the entire experience. I would heartily recommend this touching memoir to anyone and everyone!!
The authors mother is such a wack job i wanted to return the book with three hours left. she is a freaking lunatic and i cant for the life of me figure out why CPS did not come collect these kids. then add in how much of a wack job her father is its amazing that this lady turned out to be successful!! I would NEVER read this book again or tell anyone who cant stand foolishness to read it either simply because her life was so irritating. i only read it because of book club.
no her life pissed me off
do not read if you cant handle dysfunction.
I can't say enough about this story because it's complicated. By today's standards the children would have been placed in foster care and the parents paraded and humiliated (if that's possible given how they perceived the world) in front of society as horrible people. However, these biological parents (especially dad) truly loved the children and taught them how to take on life (albeit in a sometimes horrifying way).
If you are a parent, and you think you didn't bring your A Game for childrens' entire childhood, you might want to reconsider after reading this book. This is off-the-scale dysfunctional child-rearing, with enough soul-searing truth delivery included that these kids just may have ended up more gifted than the entitled youth we know today. Ripping the cell phone out of a kid's hands and throwing them into a "dig-your-own-lunch-out-of-the-bathroom-garbage" might change a few attitudes in today's schools. Just maybe...
A story full of adversity and emotion. True to life. You cannot pick your parents. Time passes quickly.
Read the book once and want to hear it read by the girl who lived it.
I didn't want this book to end! This is one of the best books I've ever read - and for sure the top two audio books I've listened to. I felt like I knew Jeannette and grew up with her since the book covers much of her early life to maybe early 30s. I was so captivated by her amazing story. Parts were shocking and almost tough to hear, mainly because it's sad at times and kind of shocking about how her family lived. The characters are so captivating too. The love the family has and while dysfunctional, how much Rex in particular loves his children, and how much her mother does (in her own ways) too, was just remarkable. This book is all about resilience. I'm going to rave about this book to anyone who will listen :) AND to top it all off, to hear Jeannette's voice narrating this audio book made that much more special and amazing!
Teaches you what real love is about! And that we don't all come from a cookie cutter type of family , we are born with what we have.
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