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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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    5,849
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Story

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Excellent

I switched back and forth between reading and listening to this book. I loved the narration by the author. I did read a lot of the book because I like to read fast. The narration added to the story. I’m not sure how the author did it, but she managed to tell a story that could have so easily tried to sway the reader into judging the life and times of the Walls as “good” or “bad”. She was able to resist any swaying and told a real story about real people. Parts of it are “Grapes of Wrath” hard to read; other parts put the fun in dysfunctional. I realize this book has been out for awhile and has been made into a movie. I took 2 lessons from this book: always have hope—and always have a job /income!

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intriguing, fascinating, heartbreaking all at once

This is a great book! The author's memoir takes you on a trip down her memory lane that is intriguing, fascinating and heartbreaking all at the same time.

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Very good book and performance

The Glass Castle is a very well-written, entertaining and thought-provoking listen. The tone of the memoir was not nearly as dark as I feared. There's a lot of dysfunction in the Walls family, but a lot of love too. This is the story of a couple who challenged societal norms...and the consequences their decisions wrought on their family.

I know a lot of listeners who are wary of books read by the author. Jeanette Walls does an excellent job. She could be a pro audio book reader if she wanted.

AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

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Infant, to adult, an amazing feat, in itself!

I am thrilled that Jeannette Walls actually lived to write this {brilliantly written} memoir. The Glass Castle is without a doubt, my best “listen”, for 2016.
Jeannette rolles smoothly, and quickly, from one extraordinary, and interesting, life experience to another. She drew me thru the whole gambit of human emotions. I found myself shocked, angry, and amazed, at all that she seemed to take in stride, as her “due”, for being a responsible daughter.

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Infuriating and loving

I read this book almost ten years ago and l love hearing it by Jeannate

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interesting

interesting but could be a little drawn out in parts describing no food. I understand that was a big thing to not have it. But it was repeated so many times it got kinda repetitive. The ending was kinda abrupt wish it was wrapped up a bit better.

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Great story

Sensitive story that is never boring nor any part wanting to skip over. Great story that pairs well with audio and the narration is excellent.

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GREAT!

I loved her point of view and listening to it from her words and voice
Not giving blame but reporting on events was also powerfull

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Incredible story of survival and social class

I was hooked from the beginning! Some of it is very hard to listen to but you walk away with a greater appreciation and understanding of the social classes and mental illness. It's not for democrats or republicans.... it's for all Americans. A great lesson on humanity and ability to overcome your circumstances and environment

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incredible

listeners should consider themselves lucky to hear this read by the author. The entire story was intriguing from start to finish. As much as I hate to think of the awful things that this woman has gone through, her narrative was so well done with such Exquisite detail. I'm so happy I decided to give this book a listen.