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The Glass Castle Audiobook

The Glass Castle: A Memoir [Audiobook]

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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

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  •  
    Amazon Customer Pittsburgh, PA 12-19-11
    Amazon Customer Pittsburgh, PA 12-19-11 Member Since 2016

    groing

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Based on an unbelievable true story..."
    Where does The Glass Castle rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    In rates in the top 30 of the audible books I've listened to - which is over 300.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the main character and her strengths. Not enough space to go into detail.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Favorite scene was when she, at 15 years of age, rode horse for several days, alone, to reach her destination.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    ??


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. Lake Oswego, OR, United States 06-12-11
    Dr. Lake Oswego, OR, United States 06-12-11 Member Since 2017
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    "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 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 03-24-11
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 03-24-11 Member Since 2015

    I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.

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    "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
  •  
    Melissa Dayton, OH, United States 10-09-10
    Melissa Dayton, OH, United States 10-09-10 Member Since 2010

    Counselor with eclectic taste, I enjoy all types of fiction, dark, strange and twisted things, humor and explicitly.

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    "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 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. McLean 08-10-11
    J. McLean 08-10-11 Member Since 2015
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    "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.

    28 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    eva Shavano Park, TX, United States 01-13-17
    eva Shavano Park, TX, United States 01-13-17 Member Since 2010
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    "Pathetic child rearing."

    I found this book so very sad, that the parents in this true story were so self absorbed and neglected their children so horrifically. The children still loved the parents, and it made me so furious, especially at the mother. But it is well written, and very thoughtful, and as tough as the circumstances were in these lives, I still really enjoyed the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather Goette 12-14-16

    Just a Northern MN girl in love with books...so much that she shares her passion. Teaching is NOT just a career; it is a choice and calling

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    "Loved it!"
    Where does The Glass Castle rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I always like to listen to a memoir read by the author themselves. It adds such a component of honesty that you just can't quite get with a different narrator.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This story is real. Honest. Thought-provoking. I have taught this book twice and loved it each time! This time I purchased the audio for some of my students that needed that extra guidance to get through. I loved hearing Jeannette's soothing voice playing through my room day after day...


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer NY, NY USA 02-17-12
    Amazon Customer NY, NY USA 02-17-12 Member Since 2014

    newmus

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    "An Unbelievable Story in the Author's Voice"
    What made the experience of listening to The Glass Castle the most enjoyable?

    Hearing this crazy story and having no idea where things were going to go next.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Glass Castle?

    The visit to the zoo.


    What about Jeannette Walls???s performance did you like?

    Hearing the story in her own voice made it believable. If an actor had read it one would have a difficult time believing it was true.


    Any additional comments?

    Given all that the Walls children endured, it is amazing to see the strength of their family.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 10-15-11
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 10-15-11 Member Since 2005

    Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A challenging upbringing"

    There are lots of memoirs that grimly explore life in a dysfunctional family, to the point where an alcoholic dad, a reality-avoiding mom, and the misery they inflict on their children are almost cliches. However, Jeanette Walls??? story differs from the norm in that she strives for an attitude of forgiveness towards her free-spirited, troubled parents and a dispassionate acceptance of her own experience.

    To be sure, Rex and Rose Mary Walls are not going to win any parent-of-the-month awards, and forgiving isn't excusing. Rex has a drinking problem and trouble holding a steady job, while Rose Mary cares more about her painting than putting food on the table and seems to suffer from a manic-depressive disorder. As they move around the country, perpetually broke and often living out of a car, they barely manage to keep their children sheltered and clothed, and cheerfully allow them to face troubles and dangers on their own. A few incidents are downright shameful, such as Rex's appalling misuse of his daughter in a pool hustle. Yet, neither, at least as Walls describes them, is an outright *bad* person. Rex is a bright man full of grand ideas, whose love of learning and independent streak shapes his children???s sense of pride in themselves, even when his irresponsible behavior denies them a very secure life. And Rose Mary, though unstable, shows bursts of optimism and a passion for adventure. The contradictions in these two people are fascinating, funny, and heartbreaking, sometimes all at once.

    The Glass Castle also offers an interesting, somewhat conflicted perspective on poverty. The Walls children, while deprived on many levels, aren???t necessarily as unhappy or held-down in their lives as one might expect. In many respects, the young Jeanette grows up stronger and more self-assured than her peers (though, to be fair, her less-mentioned younger sister runs away as a teen and has some serious problems). Which is not to say that Walls dismisses the damaging aspects of being poor -- she certainly doesn???t -- but her memoir raises a few questions about conventional attitudes towards poverty, parenthood, and choice, and the need for a more nuanced understanding.

    All in all, an enjoyable read, though the story becomes thinner then comes to a halt once Jeanette Walls herself reaches adulthood. I can't help but wonder how much time she might have spent in therapy before writing this book.

    On a side note, some reviewers have accused Walls of being dishonest in her detailed recall of herself as a three year old. I disagree. While her actual memories of that age must have been limited, I would imagine that she based her account on what she had been told and added plausible details.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Baldwin Atlanta, GA 09-15-11
    Chris Baldwin Atlanta, GA 09-15-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Not as good as I expected..."
    What would have made The Glass Castle better?

    I had heard rave reviews about this book. Granted, the author overcame some big obstacles in life, but in general I found the story and the writing to be sophomoric. It read more like an oral recounting of a number of stories pieced together. Some were entertaining but on the whole, I found the book pointless and laborious.


    5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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