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 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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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 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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.