TBR Challenge – January Book – The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls


Title: The Glass Castle

Author: Jeannette Walls

Date Started: 1/4/06

Date Finished: 1/13/06

Genre: Memoir

Rating: 5/5

Number of pages: 304

Reason for reading: It was recommended to me by my best friend Ami and I wanted to read it for the TBR challenge

Blub from the back of the book:

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity
were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four
children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest
desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man
who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics,
geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted
and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family,
called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in
fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last

Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded,
the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town — and the family —
Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery
money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated,
Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one
another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the
resources and will to leave home.

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the
guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her
parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph
against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a
family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve
out a successful life on her own terms.

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story.

My comments:

This book is now on my top ten best read books.  I don’t even know where to start with my review. It is one of those stories that the second you start it, you don’t want to put it down. It’s completely engrossing, moving, startling, and sad. If you haven’t had the chance to read this incredible story, do it. It will change your outlook on life forever and will really help you to put things into perspective.

As a follow up to reading this book, make sure you read the author interview found at Gothamist.com.




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  1. pat/mom says

    This is the kind of book that won’t let go of your mind even after you finish it. The fact that it is a memoir gives it an unbelievable hold on the reader. There are people who live like this and although the persons in charge of the family may have "chosen" this way of life, the ones most affected–their children–often have no choice but to adapt to survive. This is definitely a story of survival and triumph.

  2. says

    I can’t believe the coincidence of this – I just bought this book, after more than an hour of perusing the store to find what I wanted and having no idea that it was so loved by others. I’m looking forward to reading it on an upcoming plane trip, and I am encouraged by such good reviews!

  3. says

    I, too, just read this book last week and felt as moved as you. My mom actually sent it to me for Christmas, after raving about it, as well. I love the way the narrator seems to capture her own youthful voice, and allows the tone to "grow up" along with her. I’ve been telling everyone to read this! One thought-provoking aspect: I’d always agreed with their mother’s hands-off approach to parenting, but this book certainly shows that the approach can be taken to a dangerous extreme. I’m glad to hear another person who loved it as much as I!

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