We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
The Glass Castle Audiobook

The Glass Castle: A Memoir

Regular Price:$27.93
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (8338 )
5 star
 (5648)
4 star
 (1937)
3 star
 (528)
2 star
 (127)
1 star
 (98)
Overall
4.6 (7283 )
5 star
 (5146)
4 star
 (1494)
3 star
 (443)
2 star
 (115)
1 star
 (85)
Story
4.5 (7268 )
5 star
 (4893)
4 star
 (1560)
3 star
 (562)
2 star
 (147)
1 star
 (106)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Dr. Lake Oswego, OR, United States 06-12-11
    Dr. Lake Oswego, OR, United States 06-12-11 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    631
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    113
    86
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    64
    0
    Overall
    "Thoughtful, touching, engaging."

    My title says it all. You wouldn't expect a memoir of a VERY dysfunctional family to be so engaging - but it is. A very insightful story - but not told to yield insight - about growing up with a narcissistic, alcoholic father and a well meaning, but detached daydreamer/artist of a mother. That the author and her siblings should be so resilient says a lot about the human capacity to cope and survive, but also about how even dysfunctional parents can pass along life-sustaining qualities. Although I seldom think authors should read their own books, Walls does a passable job that does not distract from her story.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 03-24-11
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 03-24-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    439
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    435
    187
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "What a story!"

    It is hard to believe that people lead lives such as the one Walls narrates in this book. That a person can have an upbringing such as the one she had and turn out capable and well-adjusted is nothing short of a miracle. I loved that Jeanette developed strength from adversity and was inspired by her.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tina BECKLEY, WV, United States 07-24-12
    Tina BECKLEY, WV, United States 07-24-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Everything you want in a memoir"
    What did you love best about The Glass Castle?

    The Glass Castle made me cringe, cry, and laugh out loud --- sometimes all in the same chapter! It is exactly what you want from a memoir. Real people, real experiences.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jeannette was my favorite character. Her story is complicated, but the beauty of her life shines through. She never pities herself. The anger comes through sometimes, but mostly it's just acceptance and the desire and determination to make her life better.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene was when Jeannette finally met the prostitute of Welch. Everything she had expected to feel about this woman went right out the window and the encounter delivered my favorite line of the book, "One thing about whoring, it put a chicken on the table."


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    If life circumstances had allowed, I would have listened to this book without ever turning it off until I had finished listening to every single chapter. I wanted to devour it.


    Any additional comments?

    I grew up in southern West Virginia. After living in a big city for over 16 years, I moved back to the state in 2009. I can say that Jeannette captured life in certain parts of WV very accurately. I wish her time in WV had been better for her and for her family. It's a fantastic state filled with wonderful people, but Jeannette's description of her life in Welch rings very true to me.

    Jeannette's reading of her own work made this audiobook even more of a pleasure. Listening to the author describe events in her life made them come alive in a way that would be hard to capture by just reading words on a page. I feel like I made a friend in Jeannette. I will truly miss the sound of her voice.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. McLean 08-10-11
    J. McLean 08-10-11 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    32
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    299
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Read the print version!"

    I've listened to well over 200 audiobooks, and this is the first time I truly wished I had read the print version instead. Usually I feel the narration brings the story to life, but no so here. It makes sense to have the author narrate a memoir, but this was absolutely horrendous! Walls' habit of speaking in pattern, with every sentence sounding exactly the same, simply accentuates the choppy writing style. Instead of being charming, her subtle West Virginia accent became tortuous- she "set" rather than "sat", there was "suit" in the stove pipe instead of "soot", and every word ending in "ing" was pronounced "'in' "(walkin', talkin' etc.). The entire audiobook sounds like it was told by a crabby 12 year old. If I hadn't been trying to finish in time for my book club meeting I would have abandoned the audiobook. The story itself is engaging- a true example of the truth being stranger than fiction- and I truly admire her strength, tenacity and resilience. I would give the audiobook 2.5 stars, but I
    think the print version, without the dreadful narration, would merit 4.

    32 of 44 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa Dayton, OH, United States 10-09-10
    Melissa Dayton, OH, United States 10-09-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    32
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    81
    37
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    10
    Overall
    "Didn't hate it..."

    The story was interesting enough; although at times I found the discrepancies that were overlooked peculiar. The writing lacked substance and was a bit flat for my taste. There were time s when I found myself annoyed with the incessant “I said…she said…he said” It was a bit too much, I mean come on, really I think the reader gets the point. I can’t say I hated it but I think Jeannette Wall’s should focus on the writing and leave the narrating to others.

    16 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sonia 08-08-17
    Sonia 08-08-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "riveting"

    this is great read. I learned a lot. quite eye opening. awake to another world.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous 08-05-17
    08-05-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Details"

    I found it hard to believe that this girl remembered so much from such a young age. Very far fetched!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shannon 07-27-17
    shannon 07-27-17 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Glass Castle"

    Should of paid for a professional to do the audio..... Would of enjoyed much better... Wishing I would of just read it instead. Hard to listen to.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nancy c 05-16-17
    nancy c 05-16-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bad narrator"

    This was a perfect example of why writers should not read their own books. Just because you wrote it doesn't mean you are a narrator and should read it. Almost stopped listening several times it was that bad. Luckily the content of the book was good enough to keep me attention.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen S. Kungie-torres Los Angeles, CA 04-10-17
    Karen S. Kungie-torres Los Angeles, CA 04-10-17 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Crazy story; mediocre writing and narration."

    This is one of those books I wasn't sure that I wanted to finish. The writing is formulaic without syntactic variety. The narration shows the same redundancy of voice pattern. Gets boring to listen to, but the content is crazy enough to pull you through to the end, which is satisfyingly appropriate.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.