The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette WallsThe Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Wallssticker-burst

The Glass Castle: A Memoir

byJeannette Walls

Paperback | January 17, 2006

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Now a major motion picture from Lionsgate starring Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, and Naomi Watts.

The perennially bestselling, extraordinary, one-of-a-kind, “nothing short of spectacular” (Entertainment Weekly) memoir from one of the world’s most gifted storytellers.

The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’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 a 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.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing—a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.

Heather's Review

When Jeannette Walls’ father was sober, he was the best dad a kid could ask for, wild and inspiring. But when he was drunk, he would steal, lie, and abandon his family for days at a time. Jeannette’s mom hated the idea of domesticity and motherhood, and from an incredibly young age, Jeannette and her siblings were forced to take care...

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Jeannette Walls was born in Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York City for twenty years. Her books include the memoir The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel.
Title:The Glass Castle: A MemoirFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 0.6 inPublished:January 17, 2006Publisher:ScribnerLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:074324754X

ISBN - 13:9780743247542


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Eye opening! I read this because I saw it mentioned in a review of a recent biography called 'Educated'. It is a bit older but found it in a used bookstore. It is hard to believe that anyone could survive the childhood described, and is a testament to strong character. Shocking at times, so much so that I had to keep reading to see what would happen to this family. The power of love wins out, and atypical doesn't even begin to describe this family.
Date published: 2019-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Skeptical at first, but could't put it down! I don't know why I waited so long to read this but I finished it in one day - worth the read and now I'm going to read her other book.
Date published: 2019-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heart felt memoir This book really shows the resiliency of people and the family dynamics were very interesting.
Date published: 2018-09-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great memoir I'm not usually a memoir reader, but I figured I'd give this one a try after hearing from numerous friends that they couldn't put this book down. I'm definitely glad I gave it a chance, as it was a great read. I had trouble putting it down myself. It opens your eyes to the difficult lives many people are faced with.
Date published: 2018-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent One of the better books I've read. I can understand why it has been on various best seller lists for so long.
Date published: 2018-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Great read, makes you think about your childhood and how you grew up!! Would read it again!!
Date published: 2018-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it This was a great book to read. Well written and has turned me on to Jeannette Walls other two novels. One of those books that stays with you and leaves you wanting more
Date published: 2018-08-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book! This book was so good. It took me only a few days to read as I could not seem to put it down. Although the author had a really atypical childhood, it really shows the bond a family has and how one can persevere even in the most dire of circumstances. The author is also a great storyteller in my opinion. What doesn't break you only makes you stronger! I would definitely recommend this book!
Date published: 2018-08-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The atmosphere was unbelievable The atmosphere the book set was unbelievably gloomy, perfect to describe the way she was brought up. Only downside was it was quite a slow book, but the experiences described were shocking, funny, heart wrenching, and takes one through the emotional spectrum
Date published: 2018-07-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Unbelievable I have heard many wonderful things about this book, so I decided to try it out. I was sorely disappointed in it, and found some of the events she recounts to be unbelievable.
Date published: 2018-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book was phenomenal! This book was phenomenal! It’s so well-written, I honestly couldn’t put it down. It’s poignant yet hilarious, tragic yet redeeming. I don’t read many memoirs but this one was incredible and so inspiring, I highly recommend it!
Date published: 2018-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hits Close to Home This is a well written book that tries to illuminate the conflicting emotions involved in being a member of a family where "mental illness" exists. It is not easy to love a family like that and escape its unhealthy patterns of behaviour.
Date published: 2018-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Roller Coaster of Love and Hate This was a suggestion from my book club, I had seen a trailer for the movie but never thought about it. I was skeptical but as I read I fell in love with and then hate with this family. I felt I could relate to them and then they would seem to distant and boarder lining on no way they could be real. I loved this book and the bravery that must have come along with presenting a family who at times could probably be easy to be embarrassed of.
Date published: 2018-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books! Jeanette Walls writes beautifully- I have enjoyed reading all of her books, but this one was my favourite. Her story is shocking and intriguing. One of the only books I have read over and over.
Date published: 2018-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Insanely Captivating Read Cannot believe this was a memoir- so unbelievable and an insanely captivating read. This book showcases the eerie dysfunctions of an American family and how these unparalleled experiences transform into triumph and growth.
Date published: 2018-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! Loved this book. Have reread it a couple of times. It doesn't get old.
Date published: 2018-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Super lovely, touching story. So much to learn from it
Date published: 2018-07-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not my favourite I heard great reviews about this book but I found that it didn't capture my attention. It was ok but not one of those books that you can't put down.
Date published: 2018-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED First time reading a memoir and I am so glad I did. A good and easy beach read, hard to put down and a great opportunity for reflecting on what I am grateful for!
Date published: 2018-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Reading this book introduced me to non fiction and memoirs, I now love that genre and it is all because of this book #plumreview
Date published: 2018-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great and tragic story of family This memoir tells us all about her childhood and growing up with parents that march to the beat of their own drum. They didn't always make the best decisions for their kids and were often selfish, but it makes one hell of a story! Somehow they always found the best in the worst situations.
Date published: 2018-07-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read My sister told me to read this book. I thought it was excellent. Some parts are sad, but it was juicy to read.
Date published: 2018-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just keep reading ! Couldn't stop reading this book from the moment I picked it up - wanting to know how it is all going to turn out and hoping for the best - so well written with reflective understanding and insight. Great book
Date published: 2018-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from beautiful memoire!! I usually don't enjoy memories but this was truly a beautifully written one. I loved every page of this book and it truly moved me. Thank you for sharing this with the world Jeannette!!
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible I read the Glass Castle many years ago, and I still re-read it every year or so. It's such a compelling story, and it's crazy that it's all true. Jeannette Walls memoir has a relatable piece of nostalgia, tragedy, and hope for every reader. Definitely one the best memoirs I've read.
Date published: 2018-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hard to Put Down Walls' amazing life story is beautifully presented by her captivating voice. Her family has gone through hardships that some families may never experience, but her story demonstrates the love, strength, and determination within each family member.
Date published: 2018-05-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Glass Castle Ideal if you’re a fiction reader looking to branch out into non-fiction, it reads in a very narrative fashion, it’s tough subject matter at times, seeing how these kids are being raised but it also has its triumphant moments as well. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book This book gives a through, well-written glimpse into the author's life.
Date published: 2018-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow Amazing that this is a memoir. The resiliency of the human spirit! Gives readers a fresh perspective on homelssness versus individual virtues and the growth of mutual respect for lives lived according to one's own convictions.
Date published: 2018-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tear jerker LOVE this book! Will have you going through all your different emotions in one sitting.
Date published: 2018-05-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My new favorite Reading this book is a fate to me because I have read various types, but memoir is not my favourite one. I got a book club a month ago and my first choice was Call me by your name, but for some reasons and good reviews about The Glass Castle, I decided to change my choice. Fortunately, it does not make me feel regretful. The Glass Castle is a true story about Jeannette Walls’ childhood, written as a memoir. Using delicate writing style, not putting too much personal feeling, Walls lets readers develop thinking in their own ways. Building actual details in life, and placing them in order make the story become too true to be true, too many hardships were put on those little children, and they tend to increase over time. I really like the way Walls narrates the story in a period of time. As a little girl, she focuses on showing love and faith to her parents, in that little word, life is a pink adventure. But as growing up over time, she realizes the truth in life. Her father is still a charismatic, intelligent man but he needs to sober up more. Her mother is still a spiritual artist but she needs to take her responsibilities as mothership. Also, the table needs to have something on because it is not normal to pass the meal every single day. The story Walls brings is a reality of many children around the world, it presents the importance of responsibility and education. Each of us should live responsibly, living responsibly means you have to be responsible to yourself and others. Besides, education is not everything, but it is one of the most important elements deciding your future. In this story, there are lots of examples for those two above things. The more this issue is mentioned, the more negative of Rex Walls and Rose Mary to me. They all have brilliant brains, but they don’t take it to their life. They teach lessons to the children, but they teach no lesson to themselves, instead, they say philosophical quotes to hide their irresponsible behaviours. Honestly, I don’t hate them, but I’m sure don’t like them, sometimes I think “Well, he isn’t that bad” and the next scene will be “Okay, I’m wrong”. The Glass Castle is a humane and philosophical novel (whether the author means that or not), and it can be a good inspiration for someone who needs motivation to move on.
Date published: 2018-05-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Glass Castle This book is a crest filled with jewels. Rarely a novel like an autobiography or in this case; a memoir keeps me page turning, but The Glass Castle did just that! The life of Jeanette Walls left me in disbelief. The unimaginable stories she confesses of her dysfunctional family blew my mind page by page. In this case, unimaginable is almost an understatement for how wild theses narratives were. Stories streaming from kids running backyard chemistry labs to the secrets inside “The Green Lantern”. For me, these stories are what really held my interest but the same time stories also intrigued me further in the Walls home life. Not surprisingly, Jeanette’s home life was wild on its own as well. With minimal income and her parents not accepting what they depict as “charity” being welfare; Jeanette and her siblings had trouble finding bread, let alone butter. Another trait I love about this book was the setting. While the Walls’ were on the run, the setting was laid out authentically, raw, and enhanced the readers sense of their state of living. Between tight corners of an excuse of a home, the Walls hosted a heated and unpredictable environment keeping me on edge. With this, the charterers blossomed shining their odd yet prominent personalities. Which often lead me to wonder how Jeanette still found the little good inside of an alcoholic father and selfish mother who burdened her. It was honestly more frustrating than anything as a reader but it gripped me hoping for change by the end of the novel. Overall, the people seen throughout The Glass Castle are one in million and the background stories they bring are worth the read alone. Some of my personal favourites were Dinitia Hewitt and Erie Goad who both meet in Welch. In my opinion, the theme of coming of age is what made this book click. That being said, how this theme blended smoothly with subjects such as alcoholism, poverty, addiction, honesty and their family relationship is why this novel is so unique. All these themes came together so inexplicably following their journey of growth while learning life lessons on the way. Pulling it all together, Jeanette executed so many key elements making this in my eyes; a soon to be classic. All this being said, no book is perfect. To keep my review unbiased there were some small elements that threw me off and some thoughts I wish she touched more on. For example, the characters I pictured while reading remind me more of the of what they portrayed in the movie compare to the Walls family pictures I found online. I felt almost a disconnect with the characters in the novel later compared to watching the trailer. Secondly, I felt some emotion was missing as she really never spoke on what her thoughts or feelings were going through her at the time of the events. Most of all, I wish she threw in some “looking back on it” moments and described how it affects her today. Rather I’m sure I could find some answers through interviews but I still would like to have seen her bridge the gap between then and now during the novel. Lastly, I need more stories! I not sure if you can even count this as a negative but her stories about her youth truly astonished me and I can’t get enough. Overall, I personally loved this novel. It was the perfect sized, had detail without getting lost in it, yet entertaining and gripping. Still at times I felt a little lack of emotion was what retrained me from a 5-star rating. This being said, this read for me was still a solid 4.5-star rating minimum. To conclude, I would recommend this novel to anyone who loves stories, someone who has been effected by alcoholism or have a wild family of their own and are looking for a novel to relate to.
Date published: 2018-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my Favorites Absolutely amazing. Sad, happy, hopeful and will have you crying all the way through.
Date published: 2018-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books I loved this book. I read it many years ago and still would put it in my top 5 books!
Date published: 2018-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Great read, difficult at times (subject wise). A story you will never forget.
Date published: 2018-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking Story The Glass Castle was an incredibly moving story, one I will not soon forget. It is amazing to follow along the author's personal story and even more remarkable to know she was able to overcome, rise above it all and succeed.
Date published: 2018-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a strong story Each time i turned the page I had to remind myself that this story is a memoir, that it is real people, taking part of real events. It just seems like another world that one can fully envelop themselves in causing you to not stop until the story is finished. Jeanette Walls has an amazing story to tell, one that everyone should read.
Date published: 2018-04-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Glass Castle A story about a very different childhood experience of perseverance and resilience. The writing really allows you to understand the mindset of Walls as a child growing up the way she did. Very strongly recommended.
Date published: 2018-04-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Engaging read! I was curious about the book after a friend had recommended. The majority book focuses on the main character's childhood for the majority of the book, parts of which were very eye opening to the very real existence of class in America. I found her transition to adolescent to be slightly rushed, but still enjoyed the book nonetheless.
Date published: 2018-04-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, But Sad The author writes in a very smooth way that makes it easy to read. I really enjoyed this book. However, there were times when the story she was describing were just so sad.
Date published: 2018-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! Such an amazing book, really makes you think about your childhood and be grateful. Jeanette Walls is such a strong person to have written this, I think she is my new favorite author.
Date published: 2018-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A classic must read If you love reading about dysfunctional families, then this is the book for you. This book will make you cry, laugh and gasp all the way through. It is an easy read, even my mom who does not read at all, finished the book in a day or two.
Date published: 2018-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking and beautiful This is a book that will leave you thinking about it for a long time. An inspiring story.
Date published: 2018-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book Ever I read this in my English class and immediately fell in love with the whole story. Since it is a memoir, it certianly feels like you're apart of the story and follow along with Jeannette's journey. I could read this book over and over again!
Date published: 2018-03-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inspiring Very captivating, provides a different perspective of life and values
Date published: 2018-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! Read this book long long ago and I remember loving it then. Re-read it again and as great as I remember.
Date published: 2018-03-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from heartbreaking A great read about a very sad story. Honest look at families and the ties that bind us.
Date published: 2018-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Insightful Having been raised in a very typical middle class family, I found this story to be really insightful. I can't imagine being in the situation that the author was in. Great read.
Date published: 2018-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A beautiful coming of age story I had to read this book for my english class and i just fell in love with it. This story is just captivating and beautiful. The author talks about her struggles in life and just reminds the readers to never give up no matter how bad it gets. Once you start to read it, you will not be able to put it don until your done
Date published: 2018-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read! If your looking for a book to inspire you, or a book that leaves you in thought, this is a must read. Impossible to put down!
Date published: 2018-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating Read A great read. It is simple, yet engaging. The author's story is so well-written that you are able to see everything through her eyes. I was eager to turn the page and had a hard time putting it down.
Date published: 2018-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing I read this book for school a few years back.. I was amazed. I really enjoyed reading this and I thought it was so interesting I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend !
Date published: 2018-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Couldn't Put it Down What I enjoyed about this book was she presents her parents without any anger, hurt, or really any judgment. She allows the reader to come to their own conclusion about her parent’s actions. I also liked that she didn’t fall victim to her upbringing; she was able to rise above it and make a good life for herself. One of the best biographies I have read so far. Definitely a book I won’t forget about any time soon! #plumreview
Date published: 2018-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My ultimate favourite book This book was an absolute tear-jerker for me and I couldn't stop reading it.
Date published: 2018-02-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW!!! Wow.... The feelings i had thoughtout this book while reading. This is one of those books that will never be forgotten once you read it. I find it very brave of anyone that writes about their life stories that arent sunshines and roses.
Date published: 2018-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unforgettable This story was so beautiful to read and bittersweet to ponder. Jeannette's memoir will stay with me for a long time. It shows the resilience and brilliance of children and blurs the line between villain/victim. Her writing style is elegant and simple- it lets her incredible story speak for itself. Simply breathtaking.
Date published: 2018-01-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Captivating, Intruiging This memoir is written beautifully and in a way that sheds light on the perspective of a child living in poverty along with her uniquely dysfunctional family.
Date published: 2018-01-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Incredible, but not gripping The writing in the book is absolutely beautiful and raw, however it did not suck me into the story and I found it easy to put down. It was a heartbreaking story of a very dysfunctional family that I believe everyone should read, as it is so eye opening.
Date published: 2018-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truthful Beyond the Love and Pain of Dysfunction I have read other stories and books about dysfunctional families. Where this one differs is that the author writes of the love; the laughs and the creativity as well as the pain and humiliation. There is little if any self-pity or bitterness. This is an excellent biography written by an excellent human being!
Date published: 2018-01-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful writing.. I read this book a while ago and the little moments keep coming back to remind me how much I enjoyed it. You will not make a mistake with this one....
Date published: 2018-01-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read I don't normally enjoy non-fiction but I thoroughly enjoyed the Glass Castle. Grounding, real and very good.
Date published: 2018-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. What a touching true story. Reading this has made me feel blessed for my own childhood.
Date published: 2017-12-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Incredible I read this book many years ago, and the story has still stuck with me. It's about resilience and hope, but it's also an honest account about a family like you've never read before.
Date published: 2017-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very poignant This book was heartbreaking, but beautifully written and moving. A true testament to Walls' character and strong-will
Date published: 2017-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this Book! It was well written, honest and very compelling. You went on a journey with the author from beginning to end.
Date published: 2017-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Difficult This was difficult to read but I'm glad I did. The story is heartbreaking but engaging, would recommend it if you can get through it.
Date published: 2017-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An all time favourite A beautiful and tragic plot, captivating from beginning to end
Date published: 2017-12-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Did not enjoy it Humorous in the beggining and then it turns into a story about alcoholic and irresponsible parrents
Date published: 2017-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyable book! A great book and a quick read!
Date published: 2017-12-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointed Hard to read. Couldn't finish the book.
Date published: 2017-12-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Original and moving Unlike any story you've read before. This one makes you question the world. Great read!
Date published: 2017-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sad Story Lots to be learned from this dysfunctional family. Their relationships, tolerance and unconditional love are elements to take away. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! One of my favorite books of all time! Hard to put down.
Date published: 2017-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Really beautifully written, quick and easy read.
Date published: 2017-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tragic, touching This book was so sad! It was such a good read. you are really invested in the characters in the developing lives. I am excited to see what they did to the movie version of this book
Date published: 2017-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great story I love this true life stories. I couldn't put the book down. In some aspects I want to live back "in the days' life had struggles but seemed for simpler. Great read
Date published: 2017-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Emotional rollercoaster I received this book as a gift a few months ago and finally read it after seeing the trailer for the movie with Brie Larson. It was a fantastic read and I could not put it down. It made me both happy and sad and filled by heart with a bitter sweet feeling. I am excited to watch the movie but I doubt it will measure up to the book. I highly recommend this read!
Date published: 2017-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What an Auto Biography Great book, riveting read. Hard to believe that this woman grew up like this. I found the family dynamics so interesting. Easy book to pick up wherever you have left off.
Date published: 2017-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eye Opening Read Fascinating read, one of those things you can't believe is real, but you know its true. I'm excited to watch the movie version coming out, Jeanette Walls herself said Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson did an amazing job depicting her story.
Date published: 2017-11-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good book. A good book. Heartbreaking but good.
Date published: 2017-11-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great such a sad story. amazing that she turned out "normal". brave and resilient woman.
Date published: 2017-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Read This book was inspiring, heart wrenching, and a fascinating read. Cant believe it is a memoir and based on real events
Date published: 2017-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Truly enjoyed this book, amazing how this family lived and survived tough times. Highly recommend
Date published: 2017-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible read This book was an incredible read. It made me laugh and cry. I laughed so hard at the part where Jeannette states that she knows her parents can't afford braces and she makes her own.
Date published: 2017-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Glass Castle This book is captivating. The writer takes you through her life growing up in the slums and introduces you to characters that will stay with you forever. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inspiring! Enjoyed the book, was a good read.. Would definitely recommend
Date published: 2017-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED THIS BOOK! Bought this book and it was the best decision ever! absolutely loved this book, read it so quickly
Date published: 2017-11-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great book amazing memoir, could not put it down
Date published: 2017-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great story enjoyed this one very much. I also thought the movie was done well
Date published: 2017-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING Story! I read this book years ago, watched the movie recently and immediately had to re read the novel. I was not disappointed the 2nd time around. Just an amazing story and a must read.
Date published: 2017-11-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from True story! A powerful story of a child's memory of her father.
Date published: 2017-11-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Unique story #plumreview I didn’t love this book as much as I thought I would after reading many reviews. I was a little disappointed. However, the story and characters were unique and kept my interest.
Date published: 2017-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking! When you read this book, Jeannette's life seems so far from my own and so foreign that I couldn't put it down. It made me truly appreciate the normalcy I had growing up. Thank god for a stable upbringing! Great book! Great window into the lives of those around you!
Date published: 2017-11-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from :-) I read this book for school a couple years ago, and although I didn't like it at first, as I kept reading I liked it more and more. I couldn't believe it was a true story - I ended up really enjoying this book in the end!
Date published: 2017-11-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read This was chosen for a book club read last month. Jeanette really takes you along through the struggles she had with her family and surviving every day. Some readers did think it was awfully negative but I enjoyed it
Date published: 2017-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE THIS! This memoir is so beautiful! It made me so mad reading it just because of what Jeanette had to go through but it was such an incredible story of resilience!
Date published: 2017-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is an amazing book A must read biography about mental illness. I couldn’t put it down and I recommend this book for everyone.
Date published: 2017-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great!!! Honestly such a heartwarming lovely book!
Date published: 2017-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Jeannette Walls is a great storyteller. I always admire autobiographical authors for how they can recount their lives in such detail. The Walls family never had it easy. With a drunk for a father and a mother hellbent on adventure, the Walls children learned to fend for themselves. It was admirable how much the kids stood up to their family and how they were able to take matters into their own hands. Even though their lives were tough, they also shared some very special moments with each other.
Date published: 2017-11-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok i am so excited for this to arrive!
Date published: 2017-10-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Only ok I don't mind this book, but I wasn't sold on it the way I expected to be. I found parts of it to be a bit slow, but it was an incredible story.
Date published: 2017-10-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good read Good story about the author's childhood.
Date published: 2017-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking but couldn’t put down This book pulls at your heart and makes you feel lucky for what you have. The strength of the children was amazing. I couldn’t put it down.
Date published: 2017-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this! This is a page turner. You'll be shocked, will giggle and not be able to put this down.
Date published: 2017-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A personal favourite I was assigned to read this book and was originally not looking forward to it. Wow was I glad that I picked it up and read it! Her story grabs you with its emotions and characters from her real life. I highly recommend this one as it sticks with you for a long time.
Date published: 2017-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful A fantastic read. I always recommend this book to my friends, it is such an all consuming read. I think everyone can connect with this book in their own way, and that drive you forward to read it entirely in one sitting.
Date published: 2017-10-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inspiring A heart-wrenching emotional read.
Date published: 2017-10-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really liked this! Very well written, fast read and touching.
Date published: 2017-10-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good read Good book with insight into the Authors childhood.
Date published: 2017-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best read EVER! This is the most memorable book I've ever read. I loved the fact it was based on a true story. The book shows how a child overcame adversity despite all the odds. Truly the most inspiring book I've ever read. HIGHLY recommend it! I normally don't read books twice, but this is one you'll read over and over and over...
Date published: 2017-10-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Moving I could not sit through this book. So well written - too many descriptions, that I could not handle it. Really need to have a strong heart to be able to read this.
Date published: 2017-10-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Quick Read This book was great! It was a really quick read which made it easy. It was an eye opener seeing that everyone's life isn't as perfect as it seems, and it made me thankful for the way that I grew up.
Date published: 2017-10-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book I loved this book a lot. It was a sad read but it goes to show that no matter the circumstances of your life, it's up to YOU to make a difference, and work towards the life you want. Only you can change your circumstances, and that's one moral that really resonated with me while reading this. I highly recommend!
Date published: 2017-10-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Could not finish this book I bought this thinking it would be good. It was recommended to me in addition to Heather’s Pick. After about 60 pages I just had to put it down and could not finish it. It is too upsetting.
Date published: 2017-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite Book This book showed me that everyone has a messed up life and that you are not alone! I think high school students need to read this book to gain some perspective on what they are going through and to be able to relate to people in their classes that maybe they wouldn't normally give the time of day to. This is a book I will reread over and over again. It was absolutely amazing!
Date published: 2017-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book I had to write a book review on an autobiography in grade 11 and my teacher suggested this book along with others. I was very pleased that I chose it as it was a fascinating view into a type of lifestyle vastly different from the one I had experienced growing up. I have since bought the book and now it sits on my shelf with the rest of my favorites! Jeannette Walls tells it how it was and her stories will grip you till you've read the final word.
Date published: 2017-10-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can I give this 10 more stars? This was an AMAZING book. A little skeptical about the movie. I read it in grade 9 after my teacher recommended it and I'm glad I did! Its sad, funny, and full of wisdom. Can't wait to read her other books.
Date published: 2017-10-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing A deeper look into the struggles and challenges of life!
Date published: 2017-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! An amazing book. It's incredible that it's non-fiction, often I forgot that this is an autobiography. Incredible book, emotional, and gripping.
Date published: 2017-10-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A wonderful memoir Jeannette Walls is a fantastic writer -- she has a gift. The way she portrays her family is poignant and raw and it will stay with you for a long time after you finish.
Date published: 2017-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Memorable Loved this book...absolutely could not put it down.
Date published: 2017-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An overwhelming read! I bought this book recently after quite a few people suggested for me to read it. It was such a beautiful book and overwhelmed me to the point of tears.
Date published: 2017-10-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating! Did not put this down from the day I started reading it. Incredible, emotional, heart-wrenching story. Absolutely read this book!
Date published: 2017-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Written1 A truly inspiring story of survival above all else. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Read!! What a beautifully written memoir. Highly recommended!!
Date published: 2017-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favourite one This book has changed me. There were moments that I had to close it, took a deep breath to keep reading it. I cried many times. This is so powerful, so strong that after finishing the book, you will look at your issues from a different perspective.
Date published: 2017-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Liked it Looking forward to the film
Date published: 2017-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! This book was difficult to put down. I had to keep reminding myself that it is a memoir and not a work of fiction. I'm so happy that Jeannette Walls decided to share her story. Would definitely recommend!
Date published: 2017-09-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good read A good story overall. A bit slow/hard to get through in a few spots but still decent read. I had to put it down for a bit and go back to it when it got hard. But was a good book to keep at till the finish.
Date published: 2017-09-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Interesting! This was definitely a fresh and interesting perspective. I loved the honesty and I really felt all of Walls' emotions through the pages #plumreview
Date published: 2017-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting and well-written Great story with great characters as well #plumreview
Date published: 2017-09-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from great read this was a beautifully written story to read, however hard to read at times as well... the main character overcame so much during her childhood and adult years but shows strength throughout. Will be interesting to see how the movie is in comparison to the book.
Date published: 2017-09-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from gripping read The writing in this book is outstanding and the story as well is compelling. I keep going back to this book again and again to read just for how well it is crafted. A work of art!
Date published: 2017-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Difficult to put down This book is both astonishing and touching. Although there are parts that are difficult to read regarding the dysfunction in her family, Jennette Walls helps us understand how she and her family coped with difficult situations and shaped the people that they are today. Highly recommended read.
Date published: 2017-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great story It takes a strong person to be able to write a story about their life
Date published: 2017-09-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I loved it It is a good tale of a family with issues and I really enjoyed it
Date published: 2017-09-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok this was an exceptional read
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from memoir movie + book are vivid and astonishing
Date published: 2017-09-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from glass castle touching read of dysfunctional family
Date published: 2017-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A favourite One of my favourite novels of all time, the story is beautifully written, the characters are unlike any others, and captivating from start to finish
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Book I enjoyed this book but struggled to get into it at first.
Date published: 2017-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Meaningful An astonishing memoir on how alcoholism, mental illness and poverty can effect a family. Jeannette Walls holds nothing back when describing her unbelievable childhood. It's amazing to me how she can write so matter of factly and without resentment for her parents, when I felt so much anger towards them just reading this book. This story is a must read for everyone. 5 stars!
Date published: 2017-09-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My Favorite book This book is one of my all time favorite books. It is very well written and keeps you interested the entire book. Definitely recommend this book over the movie.
Date published: 2017-09-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant Memoir Love the whirlwind of emotions, turmoil, dysfunction, and life lessons.
Date published: 2017-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love! I loved this book and look forward to watching the movie! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great novel! A story about a young girl and her life with her dysfunctional family. The novel takes you through a rollercoaster of emotions and shares insight into life lessons learnt unconventionally. Great read and perfect for book clubs and classroom literature circles
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Awful Apparently I am in the minority of people who found this book awful. It was whiny and exaggerated and the writing just sucked, at least to me. Definitely do NOT recommend.
Date published: 2017-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A favourite One of my all time favourites, finally a book concept that hasn't been done a million times before
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The book I always share This is one of the books I always suggest to friends or lend them my copy. It's interesting and a great ready. You will not be disappointed.
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I read this for a high school English assignment and it was one of the best books I've ever read. It is an intriguing story where you follow Jeannette through her life in a dysfunctional family. There are some important life lessons in this book. Totally would recommend!
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I read this for a high school English assignment and it was one of the best books I've ever read. It is an intriguing story where you follow Jeannette through her life in a dysfunctional family. There are some important life lessons in this book. Totally would recommend!
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wow yes, i loved this book. i really resonated with it and it is so beautiful written. i can't wait to see the movie!
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great read! A delectable book; easily read in a day. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inspiring An incredible story complete with amazing characters.
Date published: 2017-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Glass Castle My friend watched the movie and said it was really good, so I went out and got the book and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Date published: 2017-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best books I have ever read. Loved it!! I have actually read the book twice. I've passed this book around to many others to read. A fabulous memoir. Just say the movie. The book is better.
Date published: 2017-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing book Great read, but sad story as its what the writer went through as her childhood.
Date published: 2017-08-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great a great book thats hard to put down
Date published: 2017-08-31

Read from the Book

Chapter 1: A Woman on the StreetI was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster. It was just after dark. A blustery March wind whipped the steam coming out of the manholes, and people hurried along the sidewalks with their collars turned up. I was stuck in traffic two blocks from the party where I was heading.Mom stood fifteen feet away. She had tied rags around her shoulders to keep out the spring chill and was picking through the trash while her dog, a black-and-white terrier mix, played at her feet. Mom's gestures were all familiar -- the way she tilted her head and thrust out her lower lip when studying items of potential value that she'd hoisted out of the Dumpster, the way her eyes widened with childish glee when she found something she liked. Her long hair was streaked with gray, tangled and matted, and her eyes had sunk deep into their sockets, but still she reminded me of the mom she'd been when I was a kid, swan-diving off cliffs and painting in the desert and reading Shakespeare aloud. Her cheekbones were still high and strong, but the skin was parched and ruddy from all those winters and summers exposed to the elements. To the people walking by, she probably looked like any of the thousands of homeless people in New York City.It had been months since I laid eyes on Mom, and when she looked up, I was overcome with panic that she'd see me and call out my name, and that someone on the way to the same party would spot us together and Mom would introduce herself and my secret would be out.I slid down in the seat and asked the driver to turn around and take me home to Park Avenue.The taxi pulled up in front of my building, the doorman held the door for me, and the elevator man took me up to my floor. My husband was working late, as he did most nights, and the apartment was silent except for the click of my heels on the polished wood floor. I was still rattled from seeing Mom, the unexpectedness of coming across her, the sight of her rooting happily through the Dumpster. I put some Vivaldi on, hoping the music would settle me down.I looked around the room. There were the turn-of-the-century bronze-and-silver vases and the old books with worn leather spines that I'd collected at flea markets. There were the Georgian maps I'd had framed, the Persian rugs, and the overstuffed leather armchair I liked to sink into at the end of the day. I'd tried to make a home for myself here, tried to turn the apartment into the sort of place where the person I wanted to be would live. But I could never enjoy the room without worrying about Mom and Dad huddled on a sidewalk grate somewhere. I fretted about them, but I was embarrassed by them, too, and ashamed of myself for wearing pearls and living on Park Avenue while my parents were busy keeping warm and finding something to eat.What could I do? I'd tried to help them countless times, but Dad would insist they didn't need anything, and Mom would ask for something silly, like a perfume atomizer or a membership in a health club. They said that they were living the way they wanted to.After ducking down in the taxi so Mom wouldn't see me, I hated myself -- hated my antiques, my clothes, and my apartment. I had to do something, so I called a friend of Mom's and left a message. It was our system of staying in touch. It always took Mom a few days to get back to me, but when I heard from her, she sounded, as always, cheerful and casual, as though we'd had lunch the day before. I told her I wanted to see her and suggested she drop by the apartment, but she wanted to go to a restaurant. She loved eating out, so we agreed to meet for lunch at her favorite Chinese restaurant.Mom was sitting at a booth, studying the menu, when I arrived. She'd made an effort to fix herself up. She wore a bulky gray sweater with only a few light stains, and black leather men's shoes. She'd washed her face, but her neck and temples were still dark with grime.She waved enthusiastically when she saw me. "It's my baby girl!" she called out. I kissed her cheek. Mom had dumped all the plastic packets of soy sauce and duck sauce and hot-and-spicy mustard from the table into her purse. Now she emptied a wooden bowl of dried noodles into it as well. "A little snack for later on," she explained.We ordered. Mom chose the Seafood Delight. "You know how I love my seafood," she said.She started talking about Picasso. She'd seen a retrospective of his work and decided he was hugely overrated. All the cubist stuff was gimmicky, as far as she was concerned. He hadn't really done anything worthwhile after his Rose Period."I'm worried about you," I said. "Tell me what I can do to help."Her smile faded. "What makes you think I need your help?""I'm not rich," I said. "But I have some money. Tell me what it is you need."She thought for a moment. "I could use an electrolysis treatment.""Be serious.""I am serious. If a woman looks good, she feels good.""Come on, Mom." I felt my shoulders tightening up, the way they invariably did during these conversations. "I'm talking about something that could help you change your life, make it better.""You want to help me change my life?" Mom asked. "I'm fine. You're the one who needs help. Your values are all confused.""Mom, I saw you picking through trash in the East Village a few days ago.""Well, people in this country are too wasteful. It's my way of recycling." She took a bite of her Seafood Delight. "Why didn't you say hello?""I was too ashamed, Mom. I hid."Mom pointed her chopsticks at me. "You see?" she said. "Right there. That's exactly what I'm saying. You're way too easily embarrassed. Your father and I are who we are. Accept it.""And what am I supposed to tell people about my parents?""Just tell the truth," Mom said. "That's simple enough."Copyright © 2005 by Jeannette Walls

Bookclub Guide

A #1 BookSense Reading Group Pick! The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls Reading Group Guide 1. Though The Glass Castle is brimming with unforgettable stories, which scenes were the most memorable for you? Which were the most shocking, the most inspiring, the funniest? 2. Discuss the metaphor of a glass castle and what it signifies to Jeannette and her father. Why is it important that, just before leaving for New York, Jeannette tells her father that she doesn't believe he'll ever build it? (p. 238). 3. The first story Walls tells of her childhood is that of her burning herself severely at age three, and her father dramatically takes her from the hospital: "You're safe now" (p. 14). Why do you think she opens with that story, and how does it set the stage for the rest of the memoir? 4. Rex Walls often asked his children, "Have I ever let you down?" Why was this question (and the required "No, Dad" response) so important for him -- and for his kids? On what occasions did he actually come through for them? 5. Jeannette's mother insists that, no matter what, "life with your father was never boring" (p. 288). What kind of man was Rex Walls? What were his strengths and weaknesses, his flaws and contradictions? 6. Discuss Rose Mary Walls. What did you think about her description of herself as an "excitement addict"? (p. 93). 7. Though it portrays an incredibly hardscrabble life, The Glass Castle is never sad or depressing. Discuss the tone of the book, and how do you think that Walls achieved that effect? 8 Describe Jeannette's relationship to her siblings and discuss the role they played in one another's lives. 9. In college, Jeannette is singled out by a professor for not understanding the plight of homeless people; instead of defending herself, she keeps quiet. Why do you think she does this? 10. The two major pieces of the memoir -- one half set in the desert and one half in West Virginia -- feel distinct. What effect did such a big move have on the family -- and on your reading of the story? How would you describe the shift in the book's tone? 11. Were you surprised to learn that, as adults, Jeannette and her siblings remained close to their parents? Why do you think this is? 12. What character traits -- both good and bad -- do you think that Jeannette inherited from her parents? And how do you think those traits shaped Jeannette's life? 13. For many reviewers and readers, the most extraordinary thing about The Glass Castle is that, despite everything, Jeannette Walls refuses to condemn her parents. Were you able to be equally nonjudgmental? 14. Like Mary Karr's Liars' Club and Rick Bragg's All Over But the Shoutin', Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle tells the story of a wildly original (and wildly dysfunctional) family with humor and compassion. Were their other comparable memoirs that came to mind? What distinguishes this book?

Editorial Reviews

"The Glass Castle is nothing short of spectacular."