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)
Honestly, I don't recall what made me choose this book, maybe it was even a mistake, or maybe it was FATE! I love Jeannette Walls now. I relate to that scrappy girl and the hard-working woman she became. This story is amazing in so many ways. It is hard to tell such stories with the right balance of love/humor/tragedy. She did it so beautifully. I love her voice reading her story, too. Inspirational.
Usually once I read a book, I end up giving it away; or, in the case of audiobooks, forget about it.
This book has touched my heart in a way not many have. Such great story telling. The author tells us about her life in an honest and simple yet descriptive and expressive way.
I recommend this book for everyone.
I bounced from feeling angry, to sad, to frustrated,and back again. This was a great book for me to read as I volunteer at a community crisis. I came away with a greater understanding of being homeless, being raised in poverty, and the stigmas attached to both.
I recommend this book.
A story about a special girl raised by a mentally ill mother and alcoholic father, who turns out strong, insightful...and amazing. Love that it's read by the author.
Effectively truthful feel to this memoir. The author's honesty is humbling and only underlines that growing up ain't easy, especially when one's own parents haven't done so. I'll bet I'm not the only child of ....er, emotionally and mentally challenged parents who can relate at least in part. Beautifully done but some of the pain will linger with readers. Or it has for this reader.
The book had potential as an audible with good writing and the story had some good honest moments, but it was impossible to get through the poor reading. This is why authors should not read their own books. A great reader is every bit as important as the words they read out loud to us. What was Audible thinking recommending this as an editor' pick? Lesson I learned is don't buy the editor's pick!
This story is all about the characters. The author does an excellent job of building them and telling a good story. This wasn't a book that I just couldn't put down, but it was an enjoyable listen that I would recommend to anyone looking for a good read. The author did an excellent job with the narration, too.
I was looking for something funny. This was bitter, funny in a way, enjoyable all the way. I kept on wanting to listen more.
I was so sorry for all these things that were happening. And in the end I realized that the narrator was the author of the book, who was the girl the book was talking about. It gave me chills.
I love classics and non-fiction!
Such a great story; happy, sad, all of the emotions. It's well written and well read. You'll be glad you chose this book.
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