Wow. A stunning look at a family experiencing extreme poverty. But maybe it's not the story you expect. Until the children become teenagers, their life is hard, but poverty is not their focus. They are fun, loving, warm, and a bit madcap. It really underscores that young children long to and will if possible bond with and love their parents. But the poverty and deprivation are there and oh, so deep.
I was immediately drawn into this book! Wow! There were times during my reading when I wanted to reach into the book and strangle Mary and Rex for being so selfish and stubborn. I'm all for raising kids to be self-sufficient, but it is a parent's responsibility to care for their children. I did admire them in ways. Despite their seriously flawed parenting style, or perhaps because of it, their three oldest children turned out just fine. I would not have wanted to grow up like they did, but the Walls family did have some good times and I did agree with Mary and Rex on some points regarding parenting. Poor Maureen seemed out of the loop with her older siblings. She had missed out on happier times with her parents, who no longer had any 'skedaddle' left in them by the time they reached Welch, and she suffered because of it. She did not receive much attention from her parents and was not as self-sufficient as her siblings were. I felt bad for her and I hope she turned out alright. I really enjoyed this book.
Jeannette Walls had an unusual childhood. Her dad was an alcoholic with big plans and her mother was an artist always on the lookout for an adventure. Together these 2 had 4 children, including the author. They moved around a bit and money was always tight. The children were often forced to fend for themselves. It was a very moving story told in brief glimpses at various points of the author's youth. All I could think while reading is "Wow, if she was able to survive all of that and come out on top, pretty much anyone can!" Fascinating and highly recommended.
A disturbing glimpse of life inside a very dysfunctional family. The incidents in this book are so unbelievable that it seems incredible someone could could out of this childhood to have a successful adult life.
Calling all readers who believe their parents are insane.....you have NO IDEA about crazy until you read this book. Walls' parents and her childhood are so remarkably whacked, it is difficult to believe some of this isn't fabricated. This book is thoroughly bizarre from start to finish, which makes it a must read! It will enhance your self-esteem to realize, no matter how messed up life can be, there are people (a) more messed up, or (b) strong enough to prevail and make their lives exactly what they want them to be.
This book reads like fiction. A very moving memoir about growing up poor and learning to take care of yourself. Jeannette Walls is now an entertainment writer for MSNBC. I met her at an author event and took away the fact that when you have to - you really can differentiate what you need versus what you want. Highly recommend this book!
This was a very good book! I enjoyed it immensely. The Glass Castle is a memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revealing look into a family deeply dysfunctinal though at the same time uniquely vibrant. It is a story of deep poverty, homelessness and hunger in which four children suffer greatly though grow up to be successful adults. The author, Jeannette Walls is a well-known journalist and regular contributor to MSNBC.
I found this book really hard to get into and quite dissappointing. I don't know if I am just jaded from reading similar books, but it didn't the stories of the author growing up with alcoholic disfunctional parents were neither strangely amusing nor heart-wrenching. I found myself simply pittying the author and her siblings, while not identifying with her or developing any sense of compassion for her parents. All in all, I would not reccommend this book.
Amazing book. I laughed, I cried. I went back and forth from loving her parents creativity to hating them to feeling sorry for them to never knowing exactly what to make of them. She survived some extreme hardships but also ended up with some amazing, happy memories from childhood. But in the end I was glad to see herself pull herself out of her parents downward spiral and find a great life for herself, with food on the table every night.
A very funny look at child poverty. As you are laughing you realize this was this person's life and then it hits you how un funny it really was. How she survived is beyond me. I could not put this book down.
I highly recommend this book whether you lived this life or can't imagine living this life. This book had me in tears as I remembered my own childhood. Mine wasn't as bad as Jeannette's because I and my four siblings had two sets of wonderful grandparents who bailed my parents out over and over again and took the five of us in when my parents dropped us off at times for up to a year. As you can tell the book had a very powerful impact on me.
For anyone who might doubt how bad her childhood and parents were let me tell you that there are many of us who have lived the same type of life she did.
Suzanne reviewed The Glass Castle (Large Print) on
Helpful Score: 7
Beautifully written, absolutely heartbreaking, an "Angela's Ashes" story set right here in the USA. Bravo to Jeannette Walls for both surviving her hellish childhood and finding the strength to tell about it.
I do not usually read memoirs but a friend recommended this book and I am so grateful that I followed up on that advise and picked up the book and read it. I could not put it down once I started it.
It is incredible the hardships and living conditions that the Walls parents subjected their children to thorough out their childhood. And even more amazing is that the children not only survived but turned out so well. After reading this book you will not complain about the small things in life that irritate. Think about being 5 or 6 years old and having to find your own food in garbage containers or having to use a bucket in the kitchen as a toilet or only washing your clothes ever 3 months, all because your parents are so self absorbed that they only care about their own needs. Ms Walls not only relates the hardships of her life but also the good things that she shared with her 2 very different parents. She presents a balanced story of her life.
Stunning book. I don't know where to start, except to say that this book is one to read with a friend and then discuss afterward. There are so many things to comment on.
Part of me wanted to hate the father for uprooting his family in the middle of the night repeatedly. It is not clear whether he was just paranoid, or whether he really did get in some deep trouble on a regular basis that made it prudent to disappear. Maybe it was a little of both.
The other part of me wants to celebrate the sense of wonder and awe he inspired in Jeannette. He was certainly brilliant, but also mad and an alcoholic.
I do recommend the book, whether you think the story is entirely true or not. It is well-written and, most importantly, thought provoking. Whether you like it or not, you will almost certainly be thinking about it long after reading it.
Best memoir I've read in a long time! Especially thoughtful for those of us who grew up in the 60's and 70's. Unbelieveable that 3 of the 4 children in this family "survived" their parents' "craziness" to become mentally healthy, successful adults. Supports the social science theory of a "resilence" factor.
I was getting so tired of thse 'poor me biogrophies' that I swore I would never read another one. Jeanette Walls however, tells her story in a very positive, straight forward light. Even though her childhood was extremely difficult she also relates the good things in her life that made her who she is today
An incredible true account of a family so poor they slept in cardboard boxes and got their school lunches out of the garbage. The children somehow triumph through each tribulation their dysfunctional parents put them through. I think if you liked A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, you will enjoy this book as well. It is fresh, interesting, and keeps you reading until the end. Jeannette is a firecracker throughout the book. Highly recommended!
It was a fascinating book; well-written and from the unique perspective of a young girl having lived through poverty and homelessness, yet raised by very well-educated parents. She shared her observations as a child of poverty and homelessness without casting judgements or sharing her feelings at the time. A very good read--I would recommend it to anyone.
I really enjoyed this book. It must have taken great courage to relive her childhood - a childhood of deprivation and neglect.
The author does a wonderful job of telling the story from the child's point of view. Her opinions and viewpoints subtly change as the years go by in the story and she gets older. I'm amazed at the kindness she shows her parents in retelling her story. There is little question that the parents are self-absorbed and a little crazy.
This book made me appreciate my own childhood, and maybe look a little more kindly on the less fortunate families I come in contact with. It also made me appreciate modern child protection agencies - for surely she and her siblings would be removed from such a disfunctional family today.
If you love memoirs from "ordinary" people, you'll enjoy this book.
This is such a warm, honest and open book. Although it goes through an agonizing childhood, it focuses on the children seeing positives and making do themselves. Becoming something from nothing. Truly an amazing read. I couldn't put it down!
A true story....that will keep you reading from page one to the end. It is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannett'es brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhored the idea of domesticiity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family.
This book definitely stirs so many emotions....anger at parents who have the means to provide their family, but choose not to and inspiration to the children who survived growing up in a family like this and go on to be successful.
Ruth B. (rib) reviewed The Glass Castle (Large Print) on
Helpful Score: 3
This book was recommended to me by a good friend and fellow reader. It's an autobiography of Jeannette Walls life -- the bad and the worse. While not physically abused, she was emotionally abused and lived the kind of life none of us want our children to live -- but through it all, she tells her story without sadness and makes us believe that you can conquer your childhood if you want to. Great read. I couldn't put it down!
What a great book! I finished it in one day while on vacation beacause I couldn't put it down. The story really unbelievable and you really start to root for the author and her siblings to make it. A very compelling story and great writing. Highly recommended.
One of the best autobiographies I have ever read. Jeannette tells of growing up in utter poverty with wit, humor and strong suvival instincts with dysfunctional parents. When sober, their father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology and how to embrace life. When drunk, he was dishonest and destructive. Their mother abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising children.
This was an interesting book that had me cringing and wanting to turn the page to see what happens next. I loved the resolve and tenderness of the characters. This story was an eye opener for me and shows that anyone can go through anything and still make it if they have enough determination. The authors love for her family was apparent on each page and was what kept me hoping for a better outcome.
This is a powerful memoir that my book club read a little while back. It's the story of a family that's about as dysfunctional as they come. Jeannette Walls tells the story of her and her siblings nomadic childhood led by the whimes of her parents Rex and Rose Mary. It's a touching and somewhat disturbing story where the roles of the parents and children are often reversed. At times the parents are so loving, and attentive and other time you can't believe their selfishness. I found myself both hating and loving the Wall family through out the book. It's a story about dealing with the hardships you're dealt and remaining a family despite it all.
We read this as part of our book club and I was so excited to talk about it. Another member said she didn't like the book at all and thought the writing was "awful." I am normally much more open-minded to conflicting points of view, but have to admit - that bugged me! I LOVED this book and I really wanted others to like it too. My friend said she tried to make it sound like she had a worse off life than she really did. I didn't feel that way at all - this to me was a story about a woman just telling the truth about her life. And she didn't spare a detail. For as much as her parents made awful decisions that affected their children in often abusive ways, you could see that her parents (mainly her father) were just loving their kids the only way they knew how. I admire this author for telling her story and I very much enjoyed this book - I couldn't put it down from the moment I started reading it.
The fascinating-cum-harrowing story of the Walls family: two bohemian/artist parents and the four children they raise in highly unconventional style (to put it mildly). While it's pretty readable from the get-go, it becomes compulsively so a little under halfway through, when a downturn in the family fortunes sends them back to rural West Virginia. Not sure what the takeaway here is, other than "boy, people are resilient" or maybe "boy, people can sure be different"a reveal about Walls' mother toward the end of the book blew my doors off. And perhaps some of one's fascination is purely of the morbid variety. But if nothing else, if you come from some flavor of screwed-up, middle-class, whitey background, you'll walk away with a much keener appreciation for your own particular blessings. Like, say, running water.
This book kept me reading and reading. The fact that it was a memoir was haunting. The fact that this family lived a destitute life, and the children grew up and were fairly normal, was amazing. The Glass Castle deals with family issues, alcoholism, growing up poor, and a host of other issues in America. A must read!
Reads like a novel, in style, and content. So much is unbelievable. A great story, uplifting in that those kids made it, and did so darn well for themselves. Feeling sorry for yourself? Read this book. Puts things into perspective for us.
One of the best memoirs I have ever read. It is a story of survival that you will not be able to forget. Even though her childhood was by all accounts tragic, it is written with love and humor and wit. This is NOT a poor me "Mommy Dearest" kind of memoir. I could not put it down. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
It took me 2 tries to finish the book but I'm glad I stuck with it the 2nd time around. I found it to be an interesting look at the family dynamics of eccentric and flawed adults. And how their children survived their unorthodox views of child rearing.
This book made me sick to my stomach. I have three children as well and would move heaven and earth to make sure they were warm and fed if I had the means to do so. The fact that the parents could earn money and chose not to care for their children, yet wouldn't let others help, made me ill. The book was well-written and I could feel the cold and hunger seeping into my bones, but the childhood they had was awful, despite the "adventures" they may have had.
Amazing book. I could not put this book down. Her parents were crazy, but yet she persevered. The author has tremendous courage to publish such a book. Reminded me of Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes", where both authors had very hard childhoods that required incredible strength and hope to survive. I highly recommend this book.
A gem of a book! Jeannette Walls is one of the best storytellers ever. The family was extremely quirky and their childhoods were certainly unconventional but throughout the book there was a message of love. It's hard to imagine they even survived their youth under the circumstances of their lives. I was concerned that the book would be so depressing I would be brought down by it. Her writing will leave you laughing out loud. I definitely recomment this book!!
This was a tough one for me, and I will tell you why... The author was incredibly, amazingly, accepting and forgiving of her parent's down right insane, dangerous, and hypocritical behavior. What a powerful story, what an amazing success story. Jeannette truly defines the term THRIVE not survive. Deep breaths, and try it, I recommend. To say I loved it, I didn't, it was painful to read for me. Not a favorite.
The Glass Castle is an amazing story of one family's struggle. The life of an alcoholic father and an eccentric mother. The choices that they make and the way that those choices impact their children. The children were not abused, they were loved in a different way, but there was definite neglect going on. The parents got one thing right, their life of turmoil and strife would make the kids strong. The children experienced so much in their young lives which gave them the strength to beat the odds and make better lives for themselves than their parents could ever provide.
I don't feel as strongly as most reviewers do about this book. It was definately not the BEST memior I've ever read, however it was intriguing nontheless. Although the family's survival was enormously triumphant given the life they led, I felt as though the Walls children weren't given a chance by the parents whatsoever. Mrs. Walls was downright discpicable in my opinion. As for Mr. Walls, given he was a drunken, semi-parnoid dreamer, he at least was not as condescending and completely devoid of any parenting skills like his wife. Her character (and I say this, because this read like fiction to me) was just so self absorbed and delusional that I bore no pity for her at all. It was as though each day was worse than the next for this family, but it started to get redundant and I felt very aware that I was just trying to get through to the end. This was no doubt a stunning look at an impovershed life and quirky family values, but I wouldn't hail it nearly as great as most readers did.
Excellent book! A memoir of growing up with crazy parents, perverted relatives, an absolutely chaotic, unstructured life and the will to strength to get away from it all. This memoir will take you to a place you've never been or you've chosen to forget. It gives you glimpse into the life of poverty. It's real and is certainly a problem that thousands face every single day.
My goodness. I've just finished this book, and it is a uniquely poignant memoir. A very quick read, written by someone who has come to terms as an adult with what she secretly believed was a shameful upbringing by parents who had no business being parents. The love in her family shines through loud and clear, but the conditions in which she and her siblings were reared are deplorable. That such a talented group of siblings sprang from such a beginning is a testament to the American way and to the resilience inside each of us. How hard it must have been for Ms. Walls to put her story on paper for everyone to know, and to make her peace with it. God bless her for sharing her story.
Laura S. reviewed The Glass Castle (Large Print) on
Helpful Score: 2
This book will grab you from the very beginning. As you get wrapped up in the unique story of the Walls family, you will experience every emotion that a human being is capable of feeling. It is a beautifully written account of an shockingly unconventional upbringing. Jeannette Walls tells her story brilliantly, in a manner that is courageous in its candidness. I've never had a book touch me so deeply, and stay with me long after the last page had been turned.
This book was a gift from a co-worker - who loved it so much, she bought several copies and gave them away to co-workers and relatives. And I'm so glad she did. Gut wrenching and heartwarming are a unique combination.
Every bit as good as expected! Jeannette and her siblings grew up being dragged from town to town (sometimes to escape creditors and sometimes to escape child protective services) by their very eccentric father and their tempestuous artist mother, who seem not to have realized the children's need for food, much less for stability. Yet, for much of their childhood, the siblings stuck together and even believed and loved their parents. The father, with his schemes for becoming rich had a touch of imagination and grandiosity somehow reminiscent of Pat Conroy's father, "The Great Santini." Eventually, while Jeannette did well in life, her parents descended to living on the streets, fending off all her offers of help, and apparently supremely happy with their rubbish-bin finds. The mother felt that they were doing something for the earth because people waste too much--an admirable attitude, but it's just too bad that while up in la-la land, they didn't think more about doing something for their own children.
Although told in light hearted fashion, I found this book really sad and shocking. I could not put it down because I was in shock over the way these children were raised. I am a mother of 3 and I felt terrible for Jeanette and her siblings. I found myself extremely angry with her parents. Very well written and makes you appreciate what you have.
Vanessa L. reviewed The Glass Castle (Large Print) on
Helpful Score: 2
There are a lot of childhood memoirs out there, and there were times that this one just felt like one of the bunch. However, in the end, I do think it stands out. I think what makes it fascinating is seeing Jeannette's slow realization that her parent's were not doing all they could for the children - and her ability to see the good in her parents once she does realize this.
I also wonder how the three eldest siblings, including Jeannette, turn out to be apparently functional, successful adults. It is only the youngest sibling, who did not have the more adventuresome experience out west, who found life more challenging as an adult. Instead of learning to fend for herself and think of it as a self-defining adventure, the youngest sibling learned early on to rely on other local families. What lessons can this teach us about how some of us grown up to overcome the odds, while others struggle to do so?
Definitely worth the read - it's quick and easy. Not a literary masterpiece, but certainly interesting enough in plot, narrative, and sub-themes to be worth your time.
This New York Times bestseller is an exquisitely written memoir. Jeannette Walls tells the story of growing up with free-spirited, irresponsible parents who lived life as an adventure and avoided obligation and domesticity. Jeannette's alcoholic father was strikingly intelligent and charming while simultaneously frightening in his carelessness. He rarely held down a job and squandered any money the family found to support his alcohol addiction. Her mother, an avid reader and dedicated artist, was incomprehensively self absorbed. Jeannette's parents weren't afraid to cross the line of legality to make ends meet and were quick to grab their kids and "skedaddle" when their lifestyle began to catch up to them. This memoir describes the adventures and the hardships of growing up with parents who cared little for routine, structure, security, and safety but valued education and individuality. I think the best way to describe this book is by sharing some excerpts that stood out to me as I read.
...the wood was chewed through everywhere. We kept stepping on soft spots in the floorboards, crashing through, and creating new holes. "Damned if this floor isn't starting to look like a piece of Swiss cheese," Dad said one day. He told me to fetch him his wire cutters, a hammer, and some roofing nails. He finished off the beer he was drinking, snipped the can open with his wire cutters, hammered it flat, and nailed it over the hole. He needed more patches, he said, so he had to go out and buy another six-pack. After he polished off each beer, he used the can to repair one of the holes. And whenever a new hole appeared, he'd get out his hammer, down a beer, and do another patch job.
One evening when Dad was away and we had nothing to eat and we were all sitting around the living room trying not to think about food, Mom kept disappearing under the blankets on the sofa bed. At one point, Brian looked over.
"Are you chewing something?" he asked.
"My teeth hurt," Mom said, but she was getting all shifty-eyed, glancing around the room and avoiding our stares. "It's my bad gums. I'm working my jaw to increase the circulation."
Brian yanked the covers back. Lying on the mattress next to Mom was one of those huge family-sized Hershey chocolate bars, the shiny silver wrapper pulled back and torn away. She'd already eaten half of it.
Mom started crying, "I can't help it," she sobbed. "I'm a sugar addict, just like your father is an alcoholic."
She told us we should forgive her the same way we always forgave Dad for his drinking. None of us said a thing. Brian snatched up the chocolate bar and divided it into four pieces. While Mom watched, we wolfed them down.
One day we heard on the radio that a woman in the suburbs had seen a mountain lion behind her house and had called the police, who shot the animal. Dad got so angry he put his fist through a wall. "That mountain lion had as much right to his life as that sour old biddy does to hers," he said. "You can't kill something just because it's wild."
Dad stewed for a while, sucking on a beer, and then told us to get in the car.
"Where are we going?" I asked. We hadn't been on a single expedition since we moved to Phoenix. I missed them.
"I'm going to show you," he said, "that no animal, no matter how big or wild, is dangerous as long as you know what you are doing."
Even writing about something as personal as her own difficult childhood, Ms. Walls is able to do so matter-of-factly and in such a way that illustrates for her readers the endearing qualities of her dysfunctional parents (which I, unobjectively, did not include examples of) while frankly stating those experiences that were dangerous and difficult. This writing encourages the readers own feelings to surface without being clouded by the author's judgement, criticism, or defensiveness. I couldn't help but feel pride on her behalf as Jeannette Walls overcomes her difficult childhood at the end of the book to become wealthy and successful.
I don't usually choose to read memoirs, and I might never have picked this book up if it hadn't been the talk of my school for the past couple of months. After a conversation with the school secretary and assistant principal about our favorite books, I found this one in my box just before spring break and I knew I would have to be ready to talk about it when I returned to school. Luckily, it was one of those books that I just couldn't put down and I can understand why the well-worn copy I was reading has swept through our halls so quickly. If you're ever feeling a little down on your luck or disappointed about your lot in life, this book will surely give you a little perspective!
A heartbreaking memoir. The only was I could get through it was to keep in mind that the author is a successful journalist in New York. This has to turn out okay, was my mantra. The author succeeds despite the many roadblocks and setbacks that her parents regulary subjected their children to. If there was ever a case for Child Protective Services, this was it. Well-written, but the play of events can be frustrating.
This is a really amazing story of a completely dysfunctional family and the way they made their life together work. The narrative voice is that of one of the daughters, and she is amazingly non-judgemental while she relates incidents that would drive most people batty.
I have been waiting to read this book for a while and I was not disappointed. Jeannette Walls's life just goes to show that real life is much stranger and more interesting than fiction. I highly recommend this book!
I so enjoyed venturing into the life and family of Jeannette Walls. Memorable and inspiring autobiographical recounting of heroic proportions. Likeable Parents with Mental illness that was unrecognized and untreated easily matched victoriously successful children with the will to succeed through education and raw talent. Each page is rife with humor and shocking surprises that kept this strange family in a bubble of hope and dreams. At no time during the read did I feel sad.. just interested and fastinated.
A memoir about a family living on the edge, deliberately.
Walls is born to parents who are highly intelligent and creative but whose own presumably (and suggested) dark pasts make them both junkies for excitement and change. Thus they live from hand to mouth, rarely staying in one place longer than a couple of months, for the early part of Jeanette's childhood. Jeanette's father is an alcoholic who isn't able to keep a job but who has big dreams as well as big smarts. He manages to keep their various vehicles alive one way or another, devises engineering feats where necessary, teaches his children about the stars, about physics, about math, proudly pushes them (literally) into the water where they must sink or swim.
Her mother wraps herself into her own creative ventures, painting, writing, sketching, and is usually ready when the family has to "skedaddle" in the middle of the night. Neither parent worries about the health of their children, living by the maxim that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. On this front it appears that her mother is the tougher of the two in some respects.
By the time Jeanette and her family move into Welch, Virginia, her father's childhood home, she certainly can take care of herself. She worships her father yet recognizes that he has failed her time and again. All of the children - Lori, Jeanette, Brian, and Maureen - somehow manage to find food, stay clothed, and go to school, and even excel. They don't make friends easily, finding that even in this "okie" territory they are outcasts, dirtier, skinnier, and tougher than the rest.
It's a memoir of a tough life that at times seemed wondrous to Jeanette. Being given a star for her birthday. Sleeping in a cardboard appliance box. Being encouraged to challenge life rather than be challenged by it. Thus it is more than a sad tale of children of an alcoholic, even though those of us who share that distinction are going to recognize some of the responses. It is more a tale of resilience and hope and ultimately simply acceptance.
A fascinating read that I had trouble putting down. The story is interesting on some many levels and I really felt a whole gamut of emotions while reading the book. I'm glad I read this book and I think you will be too. Highly recommended!
It is one of the best memoirs I have read, I passed my book to all my friends and gave it to my teens to read. A childhood with such gross neglect in a dysfunctional family and with parents who apparently must have been mentally and emotionally unbalanced, baffles my mind. Jeannette Walls is a gifted writer and manages to capture the reader with all the right elements. Each time you think it cannot possibly get worse, the next chapter takes it up a notch. Her story is so hard to believe and how she made it through all this advertity. I have never thought about a homeless person the same way after reading this.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read. It got me mad at points about the parents values, and how they neglected their children and their process of growing up. One part that got me really riled up was when the mother was devouring her chocolate bar. Good Good Book though. I really wonder what happened to Maureen though.
Excellent memoir of a dysfunctional family and the ultimate success of the children. After finishing the book, I began to search the internet in hopes of getting updates on the individual members of the family. There are many unanswered questions - Jeanette Walls should write a sequel.
Absolutely fascinating book! I love memoirs and this is one of the best I have read. I think it is amazing how the author and her siblings were able to come out of such neglect and poverty with great intelligence and drive to succeed.
I very much enjoyed this book. It is written in the style of a journalist, despite the fact that it is a memoir. I'm sure Ms. Walls is an excellent journalist and always keeps her head in a crisis. It is that style that makes this book so enjoyable. I read it a second time and made an effort to have emotions for Ms. Walls who is so disconnected from them. I hope for her sake that she revisits this material with emotion for herself. I think the point of this book that it most often missed by the reader is that the Walls actually had access to money. They simply refused to use it at the expense of their children. This makes this story about something much deeper, and much more dysfunctional than poverty.
I read a lot of books! Without a doubt this is the best book I have ever read!!! It was recommended to me by someone in my book club. Everyone in the club has read it and loved it. I have several copies that I loan out. I insist that my teenage daughters read it to get a handle on how lucky they are to have the things they have. A must read.
In this true story, their are times your rage at the parents of this children, who become very successful adult, is overriding you want to put the book down but for to show respect for the adult you keep going and you are glad you did.
I can only say wonderful things about this amazing book. The story is so moving and inspirational, yet stunningly sad. The dysfunction of this family will break your heart, but you'll breathe a sigh of relief to see how Jeannette overcomes her tragic childhood and learns how to live. This is so much more than a simple memoir - it's a an expectional piece of literature that I would recommend whole heartedly to every reader.
I read this book while on vacation, and I wasn't able to enjoy it because I felt guilty for having luxuries in my life when Walls writes of living in the desert, worn down shacks and living famishly digging through trash bins. It's a remarkable story, but heartbreaking.
An amazing book! I am not a big non-fiction reader but this book is better than any fiction book that I have ever read. How those children endured and became such successful members of society is beyond me. If you have not read this, please pick up the book. If for nothing else it may just inspire you!
I love this book. Several years ago I heard Jeannette Walls speak when East Lansing and Michigan State University selected this book for their annual "One Book, One Community" read. I actually requested this book for a friend, as I'd given my copy away a long time ago.
Written flawlessly; Walls' tells her story without the anger I would have graciously afforded her given what she experienced. I admire her ability to detail the issues of poverty, addiction, neglect/abuse and guilt while maintaining a level of love and respect for her parents.
What an amazing book! A great reminder that I am not as bad of a mom as I think! I recommend this to all women who think they had it bad as a kid or might be screwing up their kids. No way you could have it as bad as the Walls!
Excellent book. I have a lot in common with the author so this opened a few scars. At times I found her story unbelieveable, mainly because she turned out so well. I guess I felt inferior cuz I *didn't* do as well!
This was a sad book at times but how these kids overcame their upbringing was nothing short of phenomenal. Talk about crappy parents, those two were it. Selfish, non-caring mom, alcoholic father. Whew! Both should have had parenting classes. Good read.
A great book, at times you forget this is someone's life. I was very hesitant in reading, I usually don't read biographies. This was such an interesting story, the way the family related to each other and lived through it all. Highly recommend!
Jeanette Walls has written an excellent book in The Glass Castle. She has written in her views from when she was a child and experiencing this. It is like you are reading the story as it is happening. The parents in this story are unbelievable. As sad as this story could be, Ms Walls has written it with honesty, a touch of humor and without self pity. I did enjoy this book and it makes me grateful for the life I have had and sorry that anyone has had to grow up like this. Interesting characters and remember: it is a True story! I enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.
I probably would never have picked this book up had it not been given to me as a gift. What a great story I would have missed! It shows that it doesn't matter what kind of family you come from with a lot of hard work your dreams can come true. Great read!!!
A wonderful memoir. A story of growing up in a dysfunctional family where the father was an alcoholic and the mother an eccentric artist. Often there was no food for the children, and this family moved from place to place, the children sleeping in cardboard boxes or in the car or under the stars in the desert. This memoir is a bittersweet story that I was so engrossed in that I read it in one night.
Wow. I'm still scratching my head, trying to figure out why this book was on the Best Seller's list for a year. I found the memoir boring, trite and redundant. Ms. Walls was a character I not only sympathized with but related to, that is until she entered her adult years. By the final chapter I was utterly disgusted with her transformation and couldn't wrap the book up and send it off fast enough.
An extraordinary memoir about a childhood from hell, but told in a way that makes you want to be friends with Jeannette. She survived in spite of her parents and went on to be a success. This goes on my list of Favorite Memoirs, along with Driving With Dead People, Running With Scissors, Macho Burro and FBI Girl. SUPER!
This was a great book. I had to continuously remind myself that this REALLY happened to this woman as a child. It surely makes any dyfunctional family look like the perfect family compared to how screwed up this family was. Yet, as dysfunctional as they were, there was a bitter sweetness to it. A must read.
This book was very well written, but disturbing at times. It is hard to believe people can live like the Walls did or how the children were able to survive. Makes me appreciate my parents all the more!
I loved everything about this book. Ms. Walls is a fantastic writer. I found myself going from laughing, to crying, to angry. Some of the stuff they endured as kids is remarkable. I was so glad to see her and her siblings end up making good careers after they pretty much had nothing growing up. It upset me to see how her parents most of the time just didn't care enough to keep jobs and provide for their family. It is a great memoir that everyone should read.
This book reminded me of Angela's Ashes in many ways. It touches your soul, the deep part of humanity that these parents were lacking. It is truly a miracle of God the children survived. There are "lapses" in the book where I wished the author had told us more about her youngest sister. Who fed and watched her and what did they feed her as a baby for nutrition? You can't live off of alcohol and chocolate like the mom and dad did. They had no regard for these children. Child neglect? Yes!
This book is amazing. The most amazing thing about it is that it is a memoir, which means it's all more or less true. This is the story of the girlhood of someone who grew up in an environment of extreme neglect. The second of four children, her parents consisted of a violent drunk father and a mother who felt the world owed her everything and she owed it--and her children--nothing. The story opens when the author, at the age of three, using the stove unsupervised, catches her dress on fire and is severely burned. The parents can't or won't hold down jobs and the family is often starving, the children resorting to eating food out of the school cafeteria trash cans after the other children have left. The parents always seem to have the attitude that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, not even coming to the rescue when their children are sexually assaulted. I could go on and on about the awful things these children experienced and in general this is definitely not a happy story, but what is most striking about this story is how the author never talks about anything negatively. The attitude of the narrative always seems to be that this is just another adventure. Through it all, there is love in this family. Despite everything that happens, the ties that bind this family seem to remain just as strong or stronger than those of other more stable, more normal families.
This is a very well written account of her life growing up. Her family moved from place to place living in poverty in some of the poorest areas of the country, yet the children took care of each other and all went on to become successful adults. A sad story that made me feel bad for the kids but was also somehow uplifted by the way the book was written. I stayed up way past my bed time to finish!
This quite probably one of the most compelling books I've ever read. The author is spell-binding and the story is amazing. I won't ruin it for you by writting about it but will say that this is a must read book and a true story!
This is an incredible story of children living with extremely neglectful, self indulgent parents. The children literally raised themselves, each other, and often took responsibility for the parents. While they lived in desperate conditions, the story is written from a very positive viewpoint. The beginning is a little slow, but then I couldn't put this book down.
This was one of the best books I have read in a long time. Walls' writing is excellent. Many of my friends found it disturbing and depressing, but I thought it was such a positive account of the strength of the human spirit. I highly recommend it.
Boy, I don't hardly know what to say about this book...it makes you really appreciate the life you have. This girl is the most resilient person I have ever heard of, her trials and hardships most people could not overcome, but she did.
I highly recommend this book, you just have to read it to believe it.
Beautiful book! I had to remind myself several times it was an autobiography. So much of this seems made up. This book really made me look at what I have and what my kids have. We truly want for nothing and are very blessed.
Marisa C. reviewed The Glass Castle (Large Print) on
Helpful Score: 1
Most moving, incredible, funny, well-written, hilarious, sad, and unbelieveably real and raw book I have ever read. I cried and cried and cried some more. I laughed until I cried. I could relate in some ways, and was slack-jawed, awestruck at the dysfunction at other times. If ever there was an autobiography that took courage to write, it was this one. I would love to meet this woman to see what she is like in real life- how resilient the human spirit is, and how big of her to still love her parents.
This memoir is an amazing story of survival and perseverance. From the first page, I could not put this book down and was fascinated by this woman's experiences. She grew up on the move, and her family lived in a constant state of poverty and squalor. Some of her experiences were heartbreaking and others were jaw-dropping. And some were hilarious.
This woman's story is proof that people, with determination, can change their lives and situations. A great read that I enthusiastically recommend to everyone.
Wow is right. Dysfunctional family, alcoholism, untreated manic depression, poverty, etc. Emotional right through the end. Wished for a stronger redeeming moment from the Dad. Emotionally draining book.
I could not put this book down. I agree with the other reviews in that it is mind boggling to think that this was someone's life and that the author's parents would choose to live like they did and make their children suffer by doing so. A rare glimpse at true poverty but heartening in that the poverty (and neglect) created unbreakable sibling bonds. Also, believe it or not, a pick me up. As it will make you feel like a superior parent on your worst days!
This is a very well-written book, with incredible story-telling. The primary subconscious focus of the book I would say is the evolution of the author's rose-tinted view of her father as a naive child to her realization of the kind of man he really is as she ages and begins thinking for herself, only to come back to her youthful adoration for him as an adult. Even as he lay dying, weaving some elaborate (very typical) conspiracy tale that has led his illness, the author knows the brutal truth of how his hard life and bad decisions is what actually brought him to this point. But she still just accepts him for who he is. For my personal taste I found it totally depressing, though.
Good read. A well written but disturbing memoir of the author's childhood, growing up with a mentally ill, alcoholic father and mentally ill, totally self absorbed, mother. Her parents neglected their children (child abuse these days) and neither provided a stable home life for their family with the basics of food, decent shelter and clean, warm, clothing. Even though her mother had a college education, she had no interest in using it to provide for her family. She was left a nice home out West from her mother's estate which they lived in for a while then left for the town where the father was raised and lived in complete and utter poverty thereafter. This, even though they had money and property which they did not care about and would not use. The author and her siblings basically raised themselves and even took care of their parents at times. Though this story was very disturbing, I could not put it down because I had to see what would happen next. The message in the end was uplifting and the author overcame her awful childhood and teen years to become successful in life.
I could not put this book down. Four children growing up in a very dysfunctional family, yet their lives are full of adventure and resourcefulness. The ending surprised me just as much as the beginning of this story, and I was sorry to see it end.
Absolutely fantastic! One of the best books that I have ever read. It was hilarious but sad at the same time. Jeannette Walls had an extraordinary life, with remarkable challenges, and came out a success. I recommend this book to anyone who has overcome obstacles in the face of adversity. Exellent book!
This story is as heartbreaking as it is funny. For someone to grow up so poor and with parents who are so dysfunctional is just heartbreaking. But somehow the author manages to inject humor into this sad memoir. There were times when I laughed out loud at some of things she wrote. This is definitely one of my top 10 memoirs.
A great read - heartbreaking to think what the author and her siblings went through as children. I wanted to go back in time and adopt them all. This isn't really a story of abuse, more like "unintentional neglect", as her parents were eccentric and preferred to live on the edge of society. I don't think they were right to drag their children there, but at least in this case the children not only survived, but for the most part, prospered. The author is a wonderful storyteller. In writing about this strange, sad childhood, she never once is asking for sympathy, she's simply telling it like it was. A great read!
i had to read this for an english class, let me tell you there were some parts where I was litearly screaming, so mad at her parents. What these kids went through was not ok in my book, but they all turned out alright. Very good book!
This was a wake up call to the fact that some people have children that may not have the ability to care for them and our society does not have the best ways to watch that these children are fed and cared for. The parents in this book are bright and have good hearts and some tender moments with their children, but alcohol and some poor judgement made me wish some family member was able to step in and help these children. I know this is a true story and these things still happen today but it was a wake up call to keep your eyes open and help your neighbor when you see they need a hand, or at least their children. Very insightful read.
After reading this book, I was impressed that Jeannette Walls lived to adulthood! It is an interesting read and never boring. Fast paced and entertaining. I'm not one to read memoirs because they are usually so hateful about their childhood. However, I have to hand it to Walls for a book that sheds light on homelessness, growing up with neglectful parents and dirt poor and that stills has a lot of love in it. I wanted to slap her parents, often and hard, for the way they were. I'm happy that she and her siblings made it out of childhood alive and well. Well worth the read.
I loved this book...couldn't put it down! Amazing that someone can have such a sad childhood, and have a happy life in the end. As a parent it made me angry at these parents who neglect their kids, and also made me understand a little about people who are poor. Defintely a must read...best non-fiction I have read!
I absolutely LOVED this book. It was an amazing story of an unbearably sad childhood - but such an inspiring story. I kept having to remind myself that someone actually lived this life. It reads like a novel.
I'm still thinking about the characters (guess I should say "people" since this is a memoir) in the book after finishing it. Wondering about what happened after the final page of the book. This is a nonfiction book that reads like fiction and I loved it from the first sentence.
This book had me hooked from the start. It is a true story of love's endurance. Ms. Walls wrote a beautiful and moving memoir of her childhood and how that has brought her to her place in life. Even though her parents were dyfunctional in many ways, she writes from a place of love and sadness. She led an extraordinary early life and in many ways I envied her experiences. She was raised in a very quirky way and the glass castle, to me, represented all the promises left unfulfilled.
i had to force myself to finish this book. i had heard great things about it and kept hoping it would get better. parts of it i liked but overall its not a book i would ever recommend to someone. after i read it i lent it to two of my friends who were interested in reading it too. they both loved it though. maybe its just not for everyone. once i get it back its getting posted to swap.
I really enjoyed this book. Amazing that it is a true story of the author's life in a dysfunctional family. Some of the things that happened to her and her family are just so crazy they are hard to believe. Near the front of the book there is a photo of the author's parents on their wedding day during the 1950s I believe. As I read the book, I kept turning back to look at that photo. Her parents looked so "normal" in the photo. I just couldn't believe all the terrible and crazy things they did in the book. I was hooked and couldn't put it down. A very interesting (sad at times) memoir and with a happy ending (for the author at least).
Throughout most of this book i sat with my mouth hanging open. Initially it seemed as if the author was merely listing horrible experiences trying to shape it into a book. Eventually it did take shape. All families are dysfunctional but...this one takes the cake. This book will make you re-think how bad your own childhood TRULY was in comparison to something of the magnitude that this author has experienced. It will either inspire you to work harder or make you feel guilty that you've not worked hard enough. Either way, it's a worthy read and i would recommend it.
Kelly B. reviewed The Glass Castle (Large Print) on
Helpful Score: 1
Amazing and thoughtful story that I read to my husband and kids. We had such a good time reading this book. There were hilarious, sad, shocking, and uplifting moments woven throughout the book. While I did read it to my elementary age children, I had to skip a few parts and read over the cursing, but it didn't take a thing away from the story. We all walked away with a heart for "poor" people and a new appreciation for what we have. We will always remember reading this book together.
Walls takes these painful, and sometime beautiful, memories of growing up and spins them into a wonderful story. Much of this book rang true for me because it showed the light and the dark of her parents, their alcoholism, her siblings, and the environment they lived in. It ends on a strong, wonderful note of hope and hapiness.
This was a fun story, but it is important to remember it is a memoir and not a biography. I found myself becoming quite emphatic for the protagonist - at times being frustrated and other times getting excited with her.
This is an awesome story of struggle and survival. I cannot believe that the author and her siblings lived through such hardship and squalor and ended up so successful in life. I have such fury at the parents and their attitudes and how little they provided for their children and how selfish they were, all the while telling the kids "we'll never let you down. We are here for you and will take care of you always." Psychological abuse at it's best. And, yet, they were actually book smart, intelligent people who taught their children some very important lessons in life.
Despite not being able to provide for basic needs, such as food, clothing & shelter, they always had stacks of books around (from the library) and the children were advanced readers with a higher than average intellect. So even though the kids had to struggle and fight for every little thing and provide for themselves most of the time, it made them strong, intelligent people in the long run. Truly an awesome story. I loved this book!
I started this book and found it hard to put down. It's amazing to me that the author, Jeannette Walls, not only survived this childhood of hers, but came to be the adult she is today. Her sister and brother had to care for themselves, along with her. Feeding, clothing and protecting one another. It was a good story of hope and survival.
This is such a good book and so true.I shared it with my sister who saw shades of our own imperfect childhood. I is funny, sad, true and a story of hope and survival and triumph. I highly recommend this awesome book!!
A fascinating memoir about a very successful woman's unusual childhood that she had kept secret for years. I was so riveted by the story that I read the entire book in a day. I especially recommend to those who grew up in Appalachia and/or were raised by an alcoholic parent.
I found this book easy yet hard to read because of what I was reading at times. It is difficult to believe the author lived the life she did and turned out as normal as she appears. It is not a feel good story at all unless the fact that she survived is enough to make you feel good. I was just amazed one minute and frustrated with her parents the next. When I first read this book my oldest daughter was about 10. She remembers my reaction to it but also that I told her she was too young to read it. Well she found it a few months back (she's 12 now) and read it. I don't reccomend it for 12 year olds but she was just as fascinated by the book as I was and did a school report on it.
It is hard and amazing to believe that Jeanette Walls survived her childhood and became successful. This is a truly inspirational story of how an individual can overcome incredible odds and become a stronger human being in spite of it. Very good book.
I really enjoyed this book and finished it over a weekend. I couldn't put it down. It made me wonder how people can think that their nonconformity is noble when it's actually just laziness. I will never have a million dollors, but I will always strive for the best I can achieve. Read this book and you will want to strangle these parents and anyone who thinkgs the world owes them a living.
Best book I ever read. It changed my life...I got involved in Operation Christmas Child, a children's charity, after reading it in 2006. It's an incredibly interesting and eye-opening read. You don't want to put it down.
I picked this up not really knowing anything about the author or the book. I could NOT put the book down. It was VERY well written. Although the subject matter is a hard one to digest, the book was an amazing read. There were some things that reminded me of some scenarios that my mom had to endure as far as the poverty and attitudes of parents. Its such a heartbreaking story but Ms. Walls fully illustrated that even out of the worst conditions, one can turn life and circumstances around.
Touching, poignant, sad, but uplifting in the end. The family lived in such abject poverty - father an alcoholic, mother a "free spirit" , neither one taking on the responsibility for their 4 kids. Moving from place to place to avoid bill creditors, they finally settled in West VA, where they were the poorest of the poor. The kids all got out, though, worked hard and made good lives for themselves. Awesome story.
a sad yet witty memoir of the author's childhood. today this upbringing would be considered child abuse. yet most of the children made happy lives for themselves.
the parent's were totally unable to take care of themselves much less the children.
but they all seemed to love one another very much!
I couldn't put this book down. It was hard to read at times, but you want to find out what eventually happens to each of the family members. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a true story. I found myself hating the parents at times, but they could be loving & caring, also. I highly recommend this book.
I know this book has gotten alot of good reviews, but it is not one of my favorites. I frequently found myself wanting the book to just be over. But I don't think it was a bad book, I just didn't feel a chemistry with this book.
This is an amazing story of strength, perseverance and humility. I have so much respect for Jeannette Walls after what she has gone through. Anyone who thinks they had a tough childhood should read this book, they will know how easy they really did have it.
A wonderful memoir of a small girl who is raised by her dysfunctional mother and father. When sober the young girl's father captured the children's imagination, but when he drank was dishonest and destructive. To make matters worse the children's mother was a free spirit who didn't want the responsiblity of raising a family. I was stunned at the conditions the children lived in. They all eventually manage to find their way to New York, their parents follow and choose to be homeless even as their children prosper. An incredible story.
I love this book! The story of the Walls family is like nothing you've ever heard. Despite some pretty heartbreaking material, Jeannette Walls tells her story with wit, humor and honestly. This not a "woe is me" memoir. It's a "can you believe this crazy stuff actually happened to me" story.
I loved this book. Jeanette Walls recalls her childhood, growing up poor, with parents that were "different". I found myself thinking about the story while I was at work, then couldn't wait to get home to continue reading it. This is one book that I almost kept for myself, but I enjoyed it so much that I must share it with others.
Great book. Fast read. It is a testiment to what people can overcome. I also enjoyed the honesty of the idea that we can love people even when they are not perfect and when they do things that hurt us.
This is an amazing story of a totally dysfunctional alcoholic family and the effects it has on the children. It's a story of survival and triumph. Jeannette Walls must be an amazing woman. If you want to appreciate your life, read this book about her growing up years.
This was an interesting and horrifying read; Jeanette Walls' parents never matured beyond their own childhoods and did not have the tools to raise one child, much less four. The fact that at least three of the siblings succeeded, on their own, is amazing.
I would have rated this book five stars except for obvious discrepancies: Rose Mary Smith Walls inherited properties in the States of Arizona and Texas, and apparently never paid taxes on those properties, nor did she pay income taxes on the oil revenues which she received for production on the Texas lands. That being the case, the State, County and local taxing authorities would have placed tax liens thereon and they would have been sold to satisfy those tax liens.
Further, if Rose Mary did not pay her income taxes on the oil revenues, the IRS would have filed a Federal Tax Lien on the property and sold it for those taxes. (This assumes her brother, Jim, did not pay her share of the property taxes, and, of course, he could not pay her income taxes.)
So how did she retain title to the properties when she apparently never paid any kind of taxes?
This was a good read, but will not be on my re-read list.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Freelance writer Walls doesn't pull her punches. She opens her memoir by describing looking out the window of her taxi, wondering if she's "overdressed for the evening" and spotting her mother on the sidewalk, "rooting through a Dumpster." Walls's parentsjust two of the unforgettable characters in this excellent, unusual bookwere a matched pair of eccentrics, and raising four children didn't conventionalize either of them. Her father was a self-taught man, a would-be inventor who could stay longer at a poker table than at most jobs and had "a little bit of a drinking situation," as her mother put it. With a fantastic storytelling knack, Walls describes her artist mom's great gift for rationalizing. Apartment walls so thin they heard all their neighbors? What a bonusthey'd "pick up a little Spanish without even studying." Why feed their pets? They'd be helping them "by not allowing them to become dependent." While Walls's father's version of Christmas presentswalking each child into the Arizona desert at night and letting each one claim a starwas delightful, he wasn't so dear when he stole the kids' hard-earned savings to go on a bender. The Walls children learned to support themselves, eating out of trashcans at school or painting their skin so the holes in their pants didn't show. Buck-toothed Jeannette even tried making her own braces when she heard what orthodontia cost. One by one, each child escaped to New York City. Still, it wasn't long before their parents appeared on their doorsteps. "Why not?" Mom said. "Being homeless is an adventure."
A fascinating glimpse into the lives of young children whose parents live according to their own rules, often without regard for the children's welfare. Yet, somehow, this book is realistic without being depressing.
This is a very well written book. The conditions the author grew up in were way below what most of us consider poverty in this country. It is amazing the family survived at all. All but one of the children climbed out of the squalor to go on and lead productive lives. The storyline held me from the first page until the last.
Captivating account of one girl's eccentric family and the hardships they "willingly" endured. Unbelievable that people could have to live like this. Sometimes almost comic but always fascinating and a great read.
This book shows what an amazing person Jeannette Walls is today. Her love for her parents is beautiful even when her upbringing would make some children run far away from there parents. I was moved by this book.
At first I thought "just another book about a disfunctional family" but my opiniton changed as I followed Jeannette's story and saw the respect and humor she infused. It's great to see women who can overcome adversity and flourish in their adulthood.
This book is fabulous, although at times a very difficult read. The author had to endure a childhood of poor parenting, living in squalid conditions. Her parents lack of concern and care can be infuriating . . . However, in the end she and her siblings not only survive it all, but they make very nice lives for themselves.
Unbelieveable but true! I had to do some research after the whole "Million Little Pieces fiasco", but this is the real thing and I could not put it down. Walls had a childhood like none I could ever imagine, especially since I am currently raising children and feel like I think and over think every decision I make...this is a must read!
Walls' memoir of her struggles with her nomadic, dysfunctional family are riveting. I couldn't put it down, even when I found Walls' circumstances soul-wrenching. This is a true story of a person strong enough to overcome the impossible.
Diane H. reviewed The Glass Castle (Large Print) on
One of the BEST books I've ever read. Surprised me after reading the reviews here. Didn't think it would be THAT good!!! I would recommend to any of my friends or family. Jeannette Walls has a wonderful style of writing that engages all my senses. Nothing missing in this touching, true story!
WOW, totally amazing book about the trials of nomadic life as a child. Jeannette wrote about her life as a fact, not how she wished it would have been with surreal dream episodes. Very moving, I even stayed up until 1am to finish it.
I read this book in parallel with "Nutureshock" and the irony was incredible. To think of all that parents go through today to raise their children well, and here is a story of outrageous neglect. Jeannette Walls is living proof that kids turn out the way they will. I couldn't put this book down. I believe it was told in good faith and not fabricated. All modern teenagers should be required to read this book.
This book was a very interesting read. The basic premise is a autobiography from a woman who grew up with parents who were very anti-establishment and kind of crazy. As she grows up, her view on her parents develops and, eventually, she and her siblings move out to live on their own. The book is full of anecdotes and the various situations she experienced and she tells it all with a very accepting attitude so, while she is going through some difficult things, the story has a light-hearted backbone. All in all, it is a window into a world very different from my own childhood and, probably, many other people's childhoods as well.
I love when journalists write great memoirs! Jeannette Walls' story is amazing, and she tells it so politely, not making the reader squirm too uncomfortably no matter how horrifying the subject matter.
Loved this book - amazing true story - couldn't put it down. Read it in two days. Incredible what she went through and yet isn't bitter at all - if you liked Running with Scissors by A. Burroughs, you'll like this - not a laugh-out-loud funny book, but similar bizarre childhood story-line with REALLY "non-typical" parents.
A beautifully written story that gripped me from page 1. It is hard to imagine that the child who suffered so many injustices as a child and lived such a difficult life is such a successful adult. So many people think thier life is hard, Jeannette Walls story goes to show the rest of us what hard is.
This book has been reviewed so many times already, I can't add anything new. It is a fast read that pulls you in and makes you wonder how two parents could have such a total lack of concern for their children's well-being. However, she became a driven and successful adult, so in the end, she triumphed and that is all that counts.
This was an excellent book. But be forwarned, if your a parent with at least a few working brain cells you will really want to kick her parents in the ass and maybe even bounce their heads off a wall or two.
The Wall's Family consisted of Rex & Rosemary (The parents) and their 4 children, Jeannnette, Lori, Brian, and Maureen. Rex was a brillant man who was incredibly smart, but was an alcoholic and prone to some pretty strange behavior. Rosemary was also a brillant woman, but was more concerned with her artwork than being a mother. The authors earliest memory was of herself standing on a chair by the stove at 3 years old cooking hot dogs. She moved the wrong way and wound up setting herself on fire. She recovered but the day she came home from the hospital her mother encouraged her to continue cooking for herself.
The family moved around quite a bit because Rex had a hard time keeping a job. Sometimes they slept out under the stars in the desert when they did not have a roof over their head. One time they moved from southern california to Nevada where they rented a U haul. The parents sat in front while they put teh kids in the back with their furniture for 14 hours.
Most of the times the kids were left to their own devices to do whatever they wanted, they were hardly ever fed, and the author talks about rooting through the garbage at school just to eat. They finally wound up in Welch, WV in a decrept old house that had no running water. In WV she had to put up with a crazy grandmother, a creepy uncle, and many other obstacles including her father trying to pimp her when she was older.
This book will keep you hooked and you won't be able to put it down.
I'm not sure why there was so much hype about this book or why the waiting list to get a copy was so long. (It had to have featured on Oprah or something!) Yes, the author had an unconventional upbringing full of addiction, mental health issues, poverty, and poor choices. But if you work with children these days, you come to realize that there really isn't any such thing as a conventional upbringing anymore.
I was confused by her purprose for writing this book. At times she seems to be just presenting the facts in a nonjugemental hey-this-was-my-life tone, but suddenly she'll switch into victim mode where she seems to want sympathy. She even gets a little defensive about her parents in a don't-you-dare-judge-me kind of way. I think she wrote this book in lieu of therapy; but, if you ask me, she still needs therapy.
A quick read and hard to put down because of the short chapters but also sometimes hard to read because of upsetting situations. In the beginning the book didn't really seem to flow but things eventually came together.
Maria S. reviewed The Glass Castle (Large Print) on
This was an excellent read. It left me a little sad at times because of the hardships the kids had been put through by their parents. It's one of those books that you keep thinking about days and days after you have read it. HIGHLY recomment it.
While found I had to keep reading this book--it moves you along--I didn't really relate to the characters and actually had a hard time feeling ANY sympathy for the parents. It was upsetting to me to see how little disregard they had for their children. It is amazing that they turned out as well as they did. While I applaud the author for her courage, I'm not sure what the purpose for telling this story was.
Lisa K. reviewed The Glass Castle (Large Print) on
Jeannette Walls manages to make a very grim, heartbreaking tale enjoyable and even funny at times. She views her parents and childhood with a clear eye, detailing the many ways her parents failed her and her siblings, yet ultimately seeing them as just people and not parents.
I didn't know if it was my kind of Book but I loved it. What an eye opener for me. I guess I didn't realize some people don't mind being homeless. I had all kind of emotion come out when I read this,Sadness, excitment,hate,disgused,Happiness, pride. it hit everyone one from a to z I would guess. Great Book Think I will keep this one and share with friends.
One of my favorite reads of the summer; I could not put this book down until I had finished it. Jeannette Walls autobiography is colorful and filled with complex characters, especially her mother and father, who are at once despicable in terms of their inability to find proper jobs and feed their children and at the same time oddly admireable in terms of their desire to instill in their children a love of knowledge and learning found outside of distractions of a modernizing society.
Sarah D. reviewed The Glass Castle (Large Print) on
As I read this, it is hard to imagine this is a non-fiction book taken place over the last 30-40 years or so in America. I was struck by how this family lived, mostly by choice, to some extent. Amazing story and I am very interested to read the 2nd book, Half Broke Horses.
This was a remarkable book about resilience. I could not believe all that the children were put through and the way that most of them were able to rise above it. It was very interesting that Jeannette felt that her parents had chosen their life of poverty. It did feel that they had some options that they were not willing to explore due to their personal creed and values, twisted as they may be. This was a fascinating look at dysfunction and the love that exists between parent and child no matter what the circumstances.
This book broke my heart but I couldn't put it down. Kissing my kids goodnight made me sad for the childhood Jeannette Walls did not have, but also inspired me. This memoir is so well written; while I do not wish for the childhood she had, I also didn't find myself pitying her. Definitely recommended!
Diane C. reviewed The Glass Castle (Large Print) on
I really enjoyed this book. Jeanette Walls has quite a story and she tells it in such a way that you never really pitied her or hated her parents. The love in her family was quite evident in her telling of the story.
Our book club agreed we found the events portrayed in this book unsettling and, sometimes, disturbing. It's a look at a lifestyle most of us never see. It's easy to judge but, after reading this autobiography, those judgements are called into question. It's a story of triumph of will over circumstances and should give every reader a new respect for those struggling daily just to get by.
This book was tantalizing from the first page - I hated to put it down at night. How these children even lived through their childhood is amazing, when you consider what pains we take for our children to have clean hands at the supper table.
This is a memoir of Jeannette Walls' childhood and adolescence with 3 siblings and a pair of eccentric parents, plus a dash of poverty. I've read this twice and both times found it impossible to put down. One of the better memoirs I've read in some time, and I've read more than a few memoirs.
Although well written, it was much too depressing for me. I was lucky to have read Half-Broke Horses first. That book was amazing and the reason I decided to try The Glass Castle. I'm very disappointed with this book.
The Glass Castle was a very disturbing story of an unorthodox family.
It amazed me that a woman who was brought up like that could become so successful.
At times, the story seemed to keep repeating the same things.
It is worth reading.
Although this bogs down a bit about a third of the way through, it is a complex portrait of family life in a loving but very flawed family. To me, it raised the issue of why no school official ever redflagged the children's poor condition, but that's really my only criticism. I think the author did a good job of balancing her adult viewpoint with her viewpoint as a child.
This was such an interesting book that I could hardly put it down. It's the true memoirs of a young girl who grew up in a very dysfunctional poor family who moved around frequently. It's a great book, though sad at times, and will no disappoint you.
I absolutely loved this book and will not be reposting it because I keep lending it to friends and family, and I want to read it again when I get it back. Fascinating life this family led! Very well written and easy to read.
One of the most memorable books I've ever read. It will haunt me for a long time to come, reminding me of so much that is unseen and/or ignored. While this book brings the family members into the light and out of the shadows, the loving acceptance of the author for her dysfunctional family is inspirational. The resilience of Walls and her siblings pays homage to the indomitable human spirit that refuses to give up under agonizing and oppressive circumstances.
I'm a little curious about this new generation of memoirs about people who haven't or have barely reached the age of 40. This is one of the better stories told about growing up as an almost nomadic family...I wonder what the author's take on this will be when she's much older, since as we age, our views seem to change. still a good read.
Great read!! Jeannette Walls takes a humorous look at her hardscrabble childhood with an erratic, selfich father and an enabling, distant mother. This book made me laugh and cry, and is on par with "Angela's Ashes". I highly recommend it.
This is one of the best memoirs I have ever read. Jeannette has more than enough reason to lament her childhood, and yet there is no self-pity in her story at all. With the ability to balance the good and the bad in a way that will at times make you wish you were a part of their family, Jeannette tells her story in such a way that you can only admire her rise through struggle and her grace. In a world that LOVES to look for blame, Jeannette has ample reason to cast some, and yet, never does.
My 16 year old son read this book with his high school English class and he enjoyed it so much, he recommended it to me. There aren't many books out there with substance that can be appealing to both teenagers and adults, but this book is one of them. It also lead to great conversations with my son about tolerance and compassion. I highly recommend this book!
This story will stay with me for quite some time. It is the story of Jeannette Walls growing up. It was almost shocking to me reading about the poverty and conditions that they lived. I am so proud of the kids for facing such conditions yet going on to achieve good things.
Amazing story of a family who struggles in poverty, especially the hardship on their children and what they had to go through to just to survive. Did the parents neglect their children? Of course. Was there also something to be learned in the struggle these kids had to go through? Possibly. This isn't some boring biography; the reader takes you through what this family and their kids had to endure that would make your jaw drop. It goes to show the mentality of these two parents who were perfectly capable of working and providing for their family, and just simply didn't want to.
This book was fantastic! I have lent it to three other people already who all love it equally. An excellent job by a person who didn't play the self pity card, picked themselves up and moved on but never forgot where they came from.
This is a real gripping book. If you want something that is going to pull you in, this is it! I am a slow reader because I just don't have time(10 mins before bed is usually all I get), but I read this in 4 Days! I couldn't put it down.
Incredible story of child neglect and emotional abuse. That the three children survived this is amazing. I wanted to just shake both these parents and then put them in jail. No child should have to live like this.
This book was a surprise, after reading some of the reviews other members wrote, I was a little skeptical. But this is one heck of a good book, I read it in about 2 days, couldn't put it down. Once I finished the book I had to keep reminding myself this wasn't a novel, this was a true story that someone lived. I highly recommend you pick this book up. It is about her life from her first memory at 3 years old to her adult married life, and trust me you won't believe what she went through in between!
A very lyrical account of a family that, despite what would be considered child abuse in current life, stuck together for far longer than one might have expected. Well written, and, while not necessarily tragic, not an easy experience to read about.
I've read this twice now, from different perspectives of what was happening in my life at the time, and got something out of it each time. I think Jeannette Walls is a good writer; she gives just a good amount of description to provide a sense of her experiences without getting bogged down in too much detail. I do question whether all the things she writes about truly happened, or if they are her interpretations of events of the past, colored (as they are for all of us) by a child's understanding of the world. I recommend this book to those who enjoy biographies of unusual people.
Probably the best book Ive ever read... and thats saying a lot!!!SOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOD!!! if youve ever struggled, been poor, been rich, or been through a rough time in your life you will relate!! its fantastic!
Angela B. reviewed The Glass Castle (Large Print) on
This may be the best memoir I have ever read. It didn't feel like the author is trying to sway you to one side or the other, she's just telling it like it was. There were moments when I thought her parents were awesome, and other times that I felt they were terrible.
Amazing book! It's the first book I ever received on PBS and it knocked my socks off! Jeannette's childhood was horrible but the strong bonds it formed between her and her siblings helped them all lift themselves above seemingly inescapable conditions.
I could not put this book down! As sad as it was, it makes me feel so much better about what I *thought* were family problems. :-).
I loved this book; it was hard to put down, as the true story of the family is totally compelling in every way and it is truly astonishing that the author survived such an upbringing! The multiple awards were well-deserved, unlike others I have read.
This book will have you glued to your seat. What makes the book so compelling is that sometimes you actually agree with the parents beliefs but at the same time shocked and disturbed by how they raised their children.
I loved this book! The experiences that these children had and all they went through will astound you and leave you thinking about people's motivations. It's a great story about going against all odds and coming out successful. It is wonderfully written and i highl recommend it!
It is one of my favorite reads for 2008 full of laughter (LOL) and disbelief. I enjoyed the book told by Jeanette Walls about growing up with very selfish parents. This is a good book to read if you feel/felt you have a dysfunction family. You will either feel very blessed or relieved youre not alone. I feel blessed to have a family who chose to make personal sacrifices to provide for our family. The book left me to ponder just how many American families choose poverty.
This book offers us a peek into a family struggling with poverty. Jeannette Walls writes beautifully about her family's struggles and power to survive. The children had alot more to deal with and found creative ways to survive. A gripping memoir filled with humor, sadness and the will to survive and break the cycle of poverty.
I loved this book so much I read it in less than 24 hours, even though I also had a lot to do that day. I could not put it down. Jeannette Walls describes a really horrific childhood but the book is not one bit depressing because she has a wonderful gift for telling it all from a child's perspective with love and, believe it or not, lots of humor and levity. She and her siblings are true angels and this book is amazing. I wish she had more books- I would read them all.
This is one of those books that is really difficult to evaluate and give a rating to. One cannot really say they enjoy it, as there is some really messed up stuff in this book, but in the end Jeannette Walls' story is so inspiring, I could not help but feel as though I came away a better person from reading the book. Not good for those who are easily bothered by stories of dysfunctional families, as this family just about wins the medal for most dysfunctional parents who actually still care about their kids. Still, as I began to read the story of the Walls siblings, their family adventures, and how they escape their family background, there was a tremendous sense of amazement for how two people so detached could still give their children exactly what they needed to ultimately survive. Nobody's childhood is perfect, but it will almost certainly look far better after reading this book.
I was pleasantly surprised by this memoir. I enjoyed it from cover to cover and was amazed at the bright eyed optomism of the Walls family. It was refreshing to see a life of poverty and instability could produce such well adjusted members of society. there was no bitterness or anger or any of the hurt that I felt reading about the life these kids had to lead, it was truly a sweet story of a family. I cant wait to read her next book!
Severely smacking of McCourt's Angela's Ashes, this story is heart wrenching and tedious. Jeannette Walls tells a harrowing tale of growing up on the move with an alcoholic parent. Much like with McCourt, one wonders when she will ever escape the inevitable let down that her father and eccentric mother eternally represent. What differs here, is Walls' wit and wisdom that she takes from her experience and from which she distills the essence of her father's existence and her mother's eccentricities. Forever an embarrassment but always loving and familiar, Walls learns that her parents belong to her and to each other in a way that no other truly can.
Very different book. Not sure I agree that it should have been a best seller and popular as long as it was but I can't say I wasted my time by reading it. I found it hard to believe that she has such a good memory of things that happened starting with her at the age of 3. Most adults I know do not have profound memories of that early of an age, tramatic or not. However it was an interesting look into the lives of the severly impoverished and you wonder how they survived at times. I can not believe at some point in time there weren't any adults (teachers, social workers, relatives) that wouldn't see there lives and try to help. I know that most people are not interested in really looking at homelessness and poverty but this gives you a peek at it. I do not feel sorry for the parents in any way and think the mother should probably have been institutionalized and the father jailed. This book is something to read but I would not list it as a MUST read.
While I am sure the values of this book are numerous and the memoir intriguing, I was unable to get more than 25 pages into it due to the profound vulgarity and profanity found therein. Ms. Walls went through a horrific childhood and I do sympathize with her plight, but I do not need to experience the same profane language through her memoir.
This was an unbelievable story of a girl's childhood memories of her dysfunctional family. Living with her alcoholic father and mother the narrator tells the story of how she and her siblings survived the nightmare that was her family.
All I can say is that I was impressed by the author, Jeannette Walls. Many people have gone through similar family situations and I am grateful she was able to share her story. Her family was not perfect, but they were loyal. And that is something to be proud of.
This is an excellent piece of non-fiction that reads like a novel. As you read it, you almost can't believe that it is true. I couldn't put it down. It will make you cry, at least it did for me. You will be amazed at the resilience of the author and her family.
This is an amazing, tragic and heartwarming autobiography of a woman who survived a childhood most of us could barely imagine. One of four children of Rex and Rose Mary Walls, Jeannette eloquently tells the tale of her chaotic childhood in a clear and compelling voice.
The author and her three siblings were brought up by deeply troubled grown-ups who rebelled against the "establishment", lived off the land more often than not, and neglected to provide their children with even the most basic necessities. The kids, though hungry, cold and dirty, learned to fend for themselves. I had to put the book down a few times out of pure frustration with the elder Walls. Both were intelligent and talented, but completely unwilling to take on even the slightest responsibility in caring for the children.
Despite an almost hopeless upbringing, all but one of the children managed to avoid a seemingly-guaranteed hopeless adulthood. As to the one child who could not, one is left to wonder about the influence of genetics.
While this book may sound like a downer, it is not. It is a fascinating tale of survival and love, tolerance and forgiveness. I highly recommend it.
Carrie K. reviewed The Glass Castle (Large Print) on
A quick read that reads more like fiction than a memoir - that's how unbelievable the author's childhood was. Despite the bizzare and challenging circumstances, her family's love for eachother is apparent.
Bittersweet story of a family with parents who thought they were doing the best they could but really did not have the best interests of their children. Great to see someone can rise above her unfortunate upbringing, pursue a career to become successful without holding a grudge against her parents. It reinforces that a person's core doesn't change.
The author does not try to 'whoo' you with "her" knowledge of words. I was impressed with her memory and geological reference to different parts of the states. Her choice of words that best describe something may be difficult for someone who may not know the talk for that region. I liked the story/book. Yah !
The Glass Castle is a captivating story of abject poverty, adventure, and survival. Jeannette Walls beautifully and simplistically shares the story of her childhood with an alcoholic father and a mother uninterested in playing the role of mother.
The Glass Castle definitely has its share of heartbreak as the reader gets a glimpse into the life of a family living a life of extreme poverty. But there is so much about this story that is more than just the story of a poor family struggling to survive. At times as I was reading the story, I felt such admiration for the lessons that Rex and Rose Mary Walls taught their children and the experiences they gave them. Certainly this is not a childhood that I would wish for, but amidst the addiction, unemployment, starvation, and often the hopelessness of this family there is a beauty in the journey.
The story is bittersweet; it ends well for some members of the Walls family, and sadly for some others. While at times during the book I wanted to scream at Rex and Rose Mary for their actions, at others times I wanted to applaud them. The story is tragic and troubling, but also triumphant. Definitely read this one.
This is one incredible book! It's so hard to believe that it is a true story of the author - that she actually lived this childhood and made it to adulthood! Ms. Walls writing is superb and even though you mostly despise her parents (and don't understand why the author does not) you just cannot stop reading! Enjoy this one!
An interesting memoir, by an author who lived on Park Avenue while her mother chose to be homeless in NYC. They weren't from there, and how they got there is an interesting, sometimes disturbing, story.
2 deadbeat parents, one an alcoholic, and the other self-centered, with children, and the children raising themselves in-spite of the haphazard malevolent way the parents treat them. One can't imagine the way these children are treated by these 2 people as they drag them from one hovel to another without proper clothes or enough food to eat to experience what the mama miss-labels "another adventure". If you had "normal" parents you will be amazed at how these children survived and one was able to write this interesting book.
One of my favorite books. I have given away many copies of this book and everyone tells me how much they loved it. It is the story of Jeannette Walls' dysfunctional family and the grinding poverty that her father's alcoholism thrusts upon them, but it is told without an ounce of self-pity or sappiness. It is very evident that Ms Walls loves her family very much. It is also very evident that she desperately wishes to escape from them. Great read. This book is right up there with "Angela's Ashes".
I found two things quite striking about this book...the incredible, miraculous spirit of this girl/woman, which has a positive influence on her siblings, as well. This spirit is such that they survive and, in fact, thrive in the midst of the other striking thing...the good-for-nothing parents they were dealt. It sounds unkind and judgmental, but I'll stand by my assessment. It was a very interesting read nonetheless.
Could not put it down.Fast and furious read. One of the best memoirs i have read in a Long time. Highly recommend anyone considering reading this book. Can't wait to put my hands on Half broke horses from her to learn more.Great story teller.
I really enjoyed this book. It is unbelievable that people could live through some of the things this family faced. They had parents who seemed to love them and were proud of them, seemed intelligent in their own way, but had no ambition. It is to Jeanette's credit that she turned out as she did.
i found myself having to put this down and come back a half hour later. some of the things the kids had to do to survive enraged me. i wanted to beat the parents half to death. the author is amazing in her telling of her story and how finds so much understanding of and for her parents and their troubles.
I really enjoyed this book - Jeannette Walls is a wonderful story teller (although all true - unfortunately!); she has a great sense of humor and writes in such great detail you feel like you are there with the family.
Many friends had recommended the book to me but I had heard different negative things about the book (alcoholism etc) and thought it wouldnt be up my alley- HOWEVER, it is written so well it really makes you laugh at certain times and does not feel like a big downer to pick up - in fact I found it so compelling that I couldnt put it down.
Her dedication says it all "To John, for convincing me that everyone who is interesting has a past" and then.. " I can never adequately thank my husband who persuaded me it was time to tell my story and then pulled it out of me."
Excellent read! Did it in less than 3 days! It's amazing what we can get through if we just stay strong! It's also amazing to hear what some parents will do to their children when looking out only for themselves!
This is an incredible tru life story about a remarkably quirky family. I had to keep reminding myself that it truly was a memoir. It's amazing how much this family endured and what sadly became of them as adults. I could not put it down and have recommended it to many since.
very interesting memoir of a girl growing up very poor in a very dysfunctional family. their survival was accomplished only by the siblings' support of each other through the constant hard times. well-written; definitely recommend.
Wow, I cannot believe how some people really do live and are okay with it. Jeanette tells this story in such a facinating and lighthearted way too. The kids in this family were really brave and so intelligent and amazing to have survived the life they grew up knowing. This is such a super book and would reccomend this book not only for entertainment but for appreciation of the lifestyle you are currently living with. What a great book!!
Jamie B. reviewed The Glass Castle (Large Print) on
This book is intense. I love memoirs and this was one of the most interesting and disturbing I've ever read. Sometimes it seems almost too far fetched to be true. Of course, "truth is stranger than fiction". I highly recommend. As for memoirs, I also recommend anything by David Sedaris, "The Tender Bar" by J.R. Moehringer, "The Color of Water" by James McBride, and if you disregard the horrible movie adaptation, "Running with Scissors" by Augusten Burroughs is also very good. Happy Reading!
To say this family is peculiar is an understatement.I can't imagine growing up like that and becoming a functional member of society. A remarkable memoir. Had to repeat passages to other people.. it's that kind of book.
This book was a bit disturbing to think that it's nonfiction and some people really live like that. My 18 yr old daughter just loved it. I found it a bit tedious to read. Not a whole lot of action going on. It mainly consists of stories/events of one person's (hard) life.
This is an amazing book! The first three pages draw you in, and you can't put it down. I don't want to let my copy of the book go, but I also want everyone to be able to read this book - and maybe appreciate their own lives and circumstances a little more.
Excellent book. A well-written true story which will take you from laughter to tears. It fascinates me that some people can go from a miserable difficult childhood to become intelligent, personable, successful people without a lot of obvious hang-ups. However, a lot of the scars, deep as they are, do remain inside and out. It is the ones on the inside that are the most disfiguring. I know.
This was a fast and easy read. I enjoyed it; however, it was sad. Sad to hear how the author was treated as a child, by her parents; therefore, every time I put it down I felt melancholy. If it had not been our Book Club selection, I probably would have read the beginning and ending, only, and skipped the middle.
IF you are looking fosomethingng fun, uplifting, cute, even provocative or thought provoking, this is not the book to pick!
I loved this book. I was absorbed from page 1. It's not a happy story about growing up dirt poor for the most part, but the author expressed it in such a way that we become fully engaged with the MC's ability to forge ahead and leave her unfortunate circumstances. Those being her parents who, although aren't stupid, but lack the positive ambition of being good parents. They so seldom work that the children find ways to support their parents, even though mama is holding on to acres of property that could provide them a suitable life. Even after all four children leave home and become productive adults, the parents are content to leave a homeless life. It was a sad/happy ending.
Excellent book. A well-written true story which will take you from laughter to tears. It fascinates me that some people can go from a miserable difficult childhood to become intelligent, personable, successful people without a lot of obvious hang-ups. However, a lot of the scars, deep as they are, do remain inside and out. It is the ones on the inside that are the most disfiguring. I know.
Wow! I dont know what to say about this book. I dont want to judge the choices Jeanettes fairly educated parents made in life I was just happy to read about how she and her siblings persevered and made it through the other side fairly intact. Jeanette and her siblings were forced to grow up fast way too young. What these kids did to pull themselves out of poverty is beyond words Im not sure I couldve done what they did had I been in their position. But no matter how the parents are perceived by the reader, one will note that they made it so that the family would remain a family no matter what, and for that, I do admire them.
Jeannette Walls grew up as the second oldest of four children, with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Her childhood could best be described as unconventional as her parents lived like nomads, moving their family around the desert towns of the Southwest and camping in the mountains. Ms. Walls' remarkable memoir of her childhood is one of resilience and redemption, and a poignant glimpse into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant.
When he was sober, Jeannette's father was a tremendously gifted person. Rex Walls was an engineer and sometime inventor, who was brilliant and charismatic. Sobriety allowed him to be an amazing father to his children; he taught them physics, geology, and how to embrace life without fear. He captured his children's imagination, and taught them to appreciate the world around them. But when he drank, Rex became dishonest and destructive.
Jeannette's mother was a free spirit who found the very idea of domesticity completely abhorrent. Rose Mary Walls was an educator, but much preferred living the life of an artist - writing and painting - to teaching schoolchildren. She loved her children, but didn't want the responsibility of raising a family. To Rose Mary's mind, cooking a meal which would be consumed in fifteen minutes just didn't appeal to her, not when she could create a painting that might last forever.
So, the Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, but chose to be homeless even as their children prospered.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is truly astonishing - a touching memoir written with deep affection and generosity. Ms. Walls' writing is permeated by her intense love for a peculiar but loyal family. This is a story of triumph against all odds, yet it is also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave Ms. Walls the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
In my opinion, this was a remarkable book for me to read. It was a poignantly written, intensely personal memoir which highlights just how resilient children can be in terrible circumstances. The impoverished life that the Walls children experienced - as seen through the eyes of a child - was not abnormal to them; they just accepted things the way they were.
I appreciated that even in the middle of such a heart-wrenching period, there were still humorous times. Despite its own flaws, the Walls family was a strong, loving family - the children loved their parents deeply, and their parents reciprocated that love. I give this book an A+!
The best book I've read in a long time. I love biographies and real life stories, especially the ones that they over come great problems. This is by far the most jaw dropping disfunctional family I've read about in a long time. I love the whole family, and just want to strangle the parents. yet the love that holds them together is what family pain is all about . Real and raw.
This was an excellent, very engaging memoir! It was hard to believe how wayward the parents were, at times I felt very sorry for the kids in the book, especially as they got older, but they seemed to enjoy some of the more adventurous times. I couldn't put this one down and read it in two days!
When sober, Jeanette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.
wordwytch reviewed The Glass Castle (Large Print) on
much in the tradition of Mary Carr and Haven Kimmel. Story of dysfunctional family growing up in the 60s-70s with lots of images to spark your imagination. Somewhat poignant at the end but mostly very entertaining, even in its squalor. characters are very believable. a good read.
The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannettes brilliant and charismatic father captured his childrens imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didnt want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.
A beautifully written book that unfortunately got me quite angry about the children's situation. The author's writing is wonderfully descriptive, I felt like I was sitting there with them. But, while it is a story of their survival despite....I was very angry at the different agencies that "failed" these children.
I really enjoyed this book and found it very touching. Easy to read and read it in one sitting. Anyone who has a parent afflicted with chemical dependencies or mental issues can easily relate to some of the struggles Jeannette endured.
I thought this book was intriguing. To keep kids homeless and unfed and tell them it was an adventure is abuse and neglect. These kids should have been taken away. I was angry at these parents throughout the entire book!
Excellent book. A well-written true story which will take you from laughter to tears. It fascinates me that some people can go from a miserable difficult childhood to become intelligent, personable, successful people without a lot of obvious hang-ups. However, a lot of the scars, deep as they are, do remain inside and out. It is the ones on the inside that are the most disfiguring. I know.
My, oh, my!! What a book! I read this book in only a couple of day, it was an amazing book. I am always astounded by what some people live through; I've heard & read many stories about people growing up with alcoholic parent(s), but this one takes the cake.
I have worked for an agency that deals with child abuse, and I know it may be hard to believe, but Jeanette Walls' type of childhood goes on more often than most people know. I really enjoyed this book.
This is one of my all time favorites! From page one, this book made me want to cry ( PLEASE DON'T READ THE PROLOGUE IT WILL RUIN IT FOR YOU). I still cannot believe this is a true story. I love this book and recommend it for everyone! Thanks so much J Walls for sharing your most intimate moments with us.
The author loses all credibility with me when she continues to idolize the father who pimps her out. If there is ever a circumstance to cut a family member loose, that is it. This is a blisteringly sad true story of children being raised by two mentally ill parents.
The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience & redemption, & a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional & uniquely vibrant. when sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them pysics, geology, & how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest & destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity & didn't want the responsibility of raising a family.
The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed & protected one another and eventually found their way to NY. Their Parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.
The Glass Castle is truly astonishing - a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family
As interesting as the story behind this woman's life really is, I could not get into this book. The writing style is so juvenile. I was shocked to hear that this woman was a journalist and got paid to write. I fully understand that this may just be her choosing to use a childish voice to get her point across... or for any number of possible reasons. I just do not think that it was a good choice on her part. The story itself was shocking and very interesting, I just could not get around the writing style.
Others may enjoy this book, as the story and characters are both strong; and I do understand it is a memoir, but I just could not enjoy it.
I loved this book! One of the BEST books I've ever read....so poignant..so true (well it is based on the author's early life). How these children survived is a miracle with the neglect from the parents and the system. But so well written - it is a MUST read!
This Christmas Eve I was working and had a layover in Ontario. I had not come prepared, so I dying for something to read. I came across this at the totally expensive airport bookstore and picked it up because the author's name is Jeannette. I then realized I'd watched her on the View and it seemed like a great book. Lady named Jeanette with a drunk dad. That's me! But wow- this was just better than I could have imagined. I didn't want to put the book down. it was real, touching, but also eye opening. This is what happens in our society- yet we are so focused on third world countries. it was such a great book. (Though the end was a bit disappointing. I wouldve liked a few more details.
I found this book interesting to begin with but became bored about 150 pages in. Walls writes in a way that is so dispassionate that I ended up feeling exactly the same way. I suspect that she has a desire to remove herself from this story to protect herself emotionally, but that didn't work for me. I was just bored.