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
fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last
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.
Booklist - Stephanie Zvirin (starred review)
Shocking, sad, and occasionally bitter, this gracefully written account speaks candidly, yet with surprising affection, about parents and about the strength of family ties--for both good and ill.
The New York Times - Francine Prose The Glass Castle falls short of being art, but it's a very good memoir. At one
point, describing her early literary tastes, Walls mentions that ''my favorite
books all involved people dealing with hardships.'' And she has succeeded in
doing what most writers set out to do -- to write the kind of book they
themselves most want to read.
Walls's journalistic bare-bones style makes for a chilling, wrenching, incredible testimony of childhood neglect. A pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps, thoroughly American story.
With a fantastic storytelling knack... Walls doesn't pull her punches.
Dani Shapiro, author of Family History
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.
Patricia Bosworth, author of Anything Your Little Heart Desires and Diane Arbus: A Biography 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.
Dominick Dunne, author of The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper
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.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by hillary_marie The Glass Castle As I was reading this deeply sad book, I kept wondering to myself, could anything else really happen to this family. It is a true story full of shocking, sometimes disturbing, scenes of the life of a little girl and her interesting family. I... Read More
Rated of 5
by Bebemangzu It's a book worth reading and recommending to others! She's a really good writer. Her choice of words and ways of descriptions that tell of her experience growing up stirred me to keep reading. At times, I found myself angry at her parents, sad and happy about the things that she endured, laughing at... Read More
Rated of 5
by Courtney Craig Undescribable Some stir hearts with pictures.
Some with dance.
Some with song.
And some can move your entire being,
creep into the very crevices of your soul,
Jeannette Walls did just that. The Glass Castle will be a work of art, a... Read More
Rated of 5
by bobbie d It's Real Our book club really liked this book. Couldn't believe that it is a true story! But I guess no one could make this up. This is one of the craziest disfunctional families ever. The father had dreams that would never happen, hence, The Glass Castle.... Read More
Rated of 5
by Laurie Wonderful This is a wonderful story of triumph and trial. There are more than one occasions that could have changed any of these people in an extremely negative way, the author just pushes through in telling the story. She doesn't become bogged down in the... Read More
Rated of 5
by Charlotte Cunningham A great memoir While I was at work a few days ago, one of my co workers said Hey Charlotte after I read your memoir Why? it made me think of another memoir called The Glass Castle, I think you should read it. Wow, I just finished The Glass Castle. It is a great... Read More
For two decades
Jeannette Walls hid her roots - working primarily as a gossip
columnist at several publications including Esquire and USA
Today, and as a contributor to MSNBC. She even wrote a book about
gossip, Dish: The Inside Story on the World of Gossip (1999) -
described by Publishers Weekly as 'provocative and invariably
entertaining, Walls gives dishing the dirt its historical, social and
Then cracks started to appear in her version of her life and she found
herself compelled to tell it how it really was. She dedicates her book to her husband John, 'for convincing me that
everyone who is interesting has a past'.
This witty and lovingly told memoir takes readers back to a time when small-town America was caught in the amber of the innocent postwar period--people helped their neighbors, went to church on Sunday, and kept barnyard animals in their backyards.
An incandescent memoir of an ordinary girl growing up at the turn of the 1970s and the truly extraordinary circumstances of a childhood lost. Wrenching and unforgettable, Blackbird will carry your heart away.
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