The Glass Castle A Memoir Author:Jeannette Walls Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children'... more »;s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.« less
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.
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
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.
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.