The Glass Castle

( 2207 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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 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.

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.

Nominated for the 2006 Books for a Better Life Award

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  • Jeannette Walls
    Jeannette Walls  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Gossip columnist Jeanette Walls dishes the dirt on her own troubled youth in this remarkable story of survival against overwhelming odds. The child of charismatic vagabonds who left their offspring to raise themselves, Walls spent decades hiding an excruciating childhood filled with poverty and shocking neglect. But this is no pity party. What shines through on every page of this beautifully written family memoir is Walls's love for her deeply flawed parents and her recollection of occasionally wonderful times.
From The Critics

"Walls has joined the company of writers such as Mary Karr and Frank McCourt who have been able to transform their sad memories into fine art."

People

The Glass Castle is nothing short of spectacular."

Entertainment Weekly

Memoirs are our modern fairy tales.... The autobiographer is faced with the daunting challenge of attempting to understand, forgive, and even love the witch.... Readers will marvel at the intelligence and resilience of the Walls kids."

— Francine Prose, The New York Times Book Review, front page

Francine Prose
The Glass Castle falls short of being art, but it's a very good memoir. At one point, describing her early literary tastes, Walls mentions that ''my favorite books all involved people dealing with hardships.'' And she has succeeded in doing what most writers set out to do -- to write the kind of book they themselves most want to read.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
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 parents-just two of the unforgettable characters in this excellent, unusual book-were 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 bonus-they'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 presents-walking each child into the Arizona desert at night and letting each one claim a star-was 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." Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Not a blissful childhood: MSNBC.com contributor Walls's alcoholic dad stole the grocery money, and her mother would rather paint than parent. Scribner's big book for March. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An account of growing up nomadic, starry-eyed, and dirt poor in the '60s and '70s, by gossip journalist Walls (Dish, 2000). From her first memory, of catching fire while boiling hotdogs by herself in the trailer park her family was passing through, to her last glimpse of her mother, picking through a New York City Dumpster, Walls's detached, direct, and unflinching account of her rags-to-riches life proves a troubling ride. Her parents, Rex Walls, from the poor mining town of Welch, West Virginia, and Rose Mary, a well-educated artist from Phoenix, love a good adventure and usually don't take into account the care of the children who keep arriving-Lori, Jeannette, Brian, and Maureen-leaving them largely to fend for themselves. For entrepreneur and drinker Rex, "Doing the skedaddle" means getting out of town fast, pursued by creditors. Rex is a dreamer, and someday his gold-digging tool (the Prospector), or, better, his ingenious ideas for energy-efficiency, will fund the building of his desert dream house, the Glass Castle. But moving from Las Vegas to San Francisco to Nevada and back to rock-bottom Welch provides a precarious existence for the kids-on-and-off schooling, living with exposed wiring and no heat or plumbing, having little or nothing to eat. Protesting their paranoia toward authority and their insistence on "true values" for their children ("What doesn't kill you will make you stronger," chirps Mom), these parents have some dubious nurturing practices, such as teaching the children to con and shoplift. The deprivations do sharpen the wits of the children-leading to the family's collective escape to New York City, where they all make good, even the parents, who are content tolive homeless. The author's tell-it-like-it-was memoir is moving because it's unsentimental; she neither demonizes nor idealizes her parents, and there remains an admirable libertarian quality about them, though it justifiably elicits the children's exasperation and disgust. Walls's journalistic bare-bones style makes for a chilling, wrenching, incredible testimony of childhood neglect. A pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps, thoroughly American story. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh/William Morris Agency
From the Publisher
"Jeannette Walls has carved a story with precision and grace out of one of the most chaotic, heartbreaking childhoods ever to be set down on the page. This deeply affecting memoir is a triumph in every possible way, and it does what all good books should: it affirms our faith in the human spirit."
— Dani Shapiro, author of Family History

"The Glass Castle is the saga of the restless, indomitable Walls family, led by a grand eccentric and his tempestuous artist wife. Jeannette Walls has survived poverty, fires, and near starvation to triumph. She has written this amazing tale with honesty and love."
— Patricia Bosworth, author of Anything Your Little Heart Desires and Diane Arbus: A Biography

"Just read the first pages of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, and I defy you not to go on. It's funny and sad and quirky and loving. I was incredibly touched by it."
— Dominick Dunne, author of The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743247542
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 1/9/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 5,255
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeannette Walls

Jeannette Walls was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and grew up in the southwest and Welch, West Virginia. She graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York City for twenty years. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, has been a New York Times bestseller for more than five years. Walls lives in rural Virginia with her husband, the writer John Taylor.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Walls:

"When I sat down to write The Glass Castle, there was no doubt in my mind that once the truth about me was out I would lose all my friends and my job. So far, the reaction has been the opposite. I'm just stunned. I think I've shortchanged people and their capacity for compassion. The whole experience has changed my outlook on the world. My brother and I are closer. My sister Lori and I have discussed things we'd never before talked about. I'm back in touch with people I knew in West Virginia whom I hadn't spoken to since I left. My mother wants to correct something in the book: She wants everyone to know that she's an excellent driver.

"When I was growing up, I always loved animals. But it was a part of myself that I'd let go dormant as an adult. Writing The Glass Castle, I was reminded of how important animals had always been to me, and that love was reawakened. Not long ago, I rescued two racing greyhounds, Emma and Leopold, and I'm irrationally devoted to them.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Jeannette Barrett Walls
    2. Hometown:
      Culpeper, Virginia
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 21, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Phoenix, Arizona
    1. Education:
      B.A., Barnard College, 1984

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: A Woman on the Street

I 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

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Reading Group 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? Simon & Schuster

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2207 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1372)

4 Star

(493)

3 Star

(200)

2 Star

(76)

1 Star

(66)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 2216 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 28, 2009

    what a great book

    The Glass Castle is a inspiring novel that really deals with problems that many face, neglection. The mother doesn't care enough to be a true mom, and the father is too busy getting drunk to care in a fatherly way. Which leaves the children with a lot to be desired. In a quest for independence and to find a way through life the children separate and it shows many different paths life can lead you down..It is truly an inspirational book, that shows you don't need someone always and to never give up. I really recommend this book.

    39 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    OUTSTANDING

    THIS IS AN OUTSTANDING, WELL WRITTEN BOOK. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wall is the type of book that makes you want to give your parents a hug and thank them for being such wonderful parents, no matter how bad they were. Wall was raised by free spirits who want their children to become toughened by life and believe firmly in survival of the fittest. Her mother wants to be an artist and not to be bothered by the inconvenience of feeding and caring for her children. Her father is brilliantly smart but also a vicious drunk. Every time I thought that her childhood couldn't get any worse, I would turn the page. Which is worse? The Christmas he lit the entire Christmas tree on fire (on purpose) destroying their presents or the time he chased his pregnant wife with the car through the desert at night until he pinned her against a rock wall. Wall's story of perserverance through adversity is inspiring and amazing. You can't help but admire the courage it took to survive what she did and accomplish everything she has since. I finished it last night, and today I realized I was a bit sad that I didn't have any more of their crazy life stories to read about!

    29 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2012

    Winning Best Memoir Prize in my class.

    I've had the pleasure to teach a college class on memoir since 2002, but must admit I've never had watched a memoir garner such reaction, praise, attachment, and fervor in the class before this one. Readers in my course, both young and middle aged, are held by the divided souls in this book, by its perils, defenses for neglect, overcoming, awful truths, painful secrets, shame, sarcasm, love always love, wit, and pluck. Its style holds us, and its saga of overcoming moves all. You will put the book down upon finishing, but you will never be able to quit the Walls' family.

    Jeannette Walls has one amazing heart. I am honored that she has shared it with us.

    18 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 28, 2010

    Must read... no time for "skedaddle" on this book.

    Nowadays, everyone grunts about how hard their life in recession is and they point fingers at Wall St., White House, Mid-East, and national debts. However, they should understand that those aren't quite like what we call hardships, but laments. Jeannette Walls's Glass Castle shows truly unimaginable hardship on a tight rope and her brave escape from her family's seemingly never-ending impoverished fate.

    It is truly inspiring book! When I first grabbed this book for my high school English Class, I thought it would one of those stories of a penniless country kid in shanty farm going to the big cities and be a millionaire. However, Jeannette's life didn't end up as a millionaire--she's a journalist now and it seems that she has a natural talent of journalism. Her story swings the readers in excitement and horror with her powerful narration; her tragicomic memoirs are full of adventures, conflicts, and passion that we simply cannot put down. Through her memoirs, we actually can feel the exuberance, pain, fear and hope.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2010

    Amazing story! The power of the human's ability to survive and thrive.

    Wow, this book is an amazing tale of alcoholism, mental illness, despair, tragedy, strength, love, family, loyalty and survival.

    This book is impossible to put down. True page turner. I could not believe what I was reading. The author's family is fascinating. A powerful story of the human beings ability to survive and become successful in spite of great deprivation. I think this kind of story shows that children are much stronger than any of us give them credit for. Sometimes I think the more a child has to develop its resourcefulness the more successful she is as an adult. Granted, lots of therapy may be needed.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 12, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Very good

    What a book. I really enjoyed this one and recommended this to my friends.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Enter into the Reality of Poverty

    Jeanette Walls takes the reader into her life, holding our hand throughout, as though we were there with her. We meet her as a child, as she remembers the many instances of hunger and want she experienced while growing up. We feel the pain that she does not whimper to us; we bear her burden under which she does not complain; we trudge through the mud and live in the shambles of her childhood and adolescence along with her and her siblings, and we grow stronger with her. This is a remarkable tale, all the more so since it is a recording of her life rather than a fictional account based on imagination. Never before have I touched the depths of the disorder and want that Walls experienced nor seen the genuine triumph of the human being to such great heights. My heart twists and my eyes tear as I consider the whole of this book...the senselessness of those who hold the keys of order and peace to their children's lives...the parents...enough said...you MUST read this book!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2010

    Inspiring Read

    The Glass Castle is the story of a young girl's struggle growing up. She is forced to take care of herself due to her dad's alcoholism and her mom's free personality. The book is truly inspiring and shows the strength of the Wall's kids. The story is told in an intriguing way that makes you want to keep reading. The book is constantly surprising you with the horrible living conditions of this family. The story makes you reconsider the things in your life that you aren't happy with. Many people complain over the smallest things, but the Wall's kids embrace these challenges. The book teaches a great lesson of how lucky we truly are. Most people don't know what its like to have parents who don't care about you, or to be taking care of yourself by the age of three. It is shocking to read about how strong and self sufficient these kids are. It is also inspiring to see how these kids reached their dream. The two oldest sisters planed on moving out to New York to make a better life for themselves, however, everything seemed to be against them. Even after having all their saved money stolen by their father, they never gave up. They overcame the hardest obstacles to achieve their dream, which is a life lesson everyone should learn. The one thing that I disliked about the book was the ending. I thought that there should have been some more information about the lives of the family now. I especially wanted to know more about Maureen since she was left out of most of the story. Overall I loved the book and I would recommend it to anyone. It has great life lessons and it proves that even under the worst conditions, you can still be successful.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2010

    a must read...

    and pass it on...this is one of those books that is a must read and then it should be shared with everyone you know...this is a book that stays with you and not only touches your heart be leaves a mark. Jeannette Walls takes you on her incredible journey of life. She reminds you that life can take you anywhere and what remains is an amazing story. It offers a true sense of the human spirit.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2010

    very good

    this book is very enlightening, the girl is very strong yet i still feel that she should give a bit more about maureen. i would like to know more about her life and what she is doing.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read

    I loved this book. Jeannette Walls took me into her childhood and her family. My childhood was also traumatic and I took great comfort while reading this book, that someone else went through similar things that I did. It was easy to read, very compelling, I didn't want to put it down! I even felt compelled to email her when I was done to let her know how much I enjoyed the book.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2010

    Captivating True Life Story!

    I wasn't sure if I would like this book going in knowing it was a memoir of some girl's childhood and upbringing. However, after getting into the book I realized the life of Jeannette Walls was anything but a typical childhood story. I myself could not relate to even one aspect of her crazy life, but that made the book so much more interesting. The stories of this American family are outrageous, sometime they left me feeling heartbroken and at other times I fell in love with every member of the Walls family, even Rex and Rosemary. Jeannette and Her siblings are amazing and heroic, overcoming all odds to come out on top. A great story with all happy endings! Glad I gave this book a chancee :)

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2009

    Excellent book

    Couldn't put it down!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2009

    Interesting family dynamics

    This book made me realize that my own childhood was a lot easier than I thought it was. Interesting family dynamics and although I wanted to like the free spirited parents I found it difficult to reconcile the drastic effects their choices had on the children. It was inspiring to realize that despite (or maybe because of) the difficulties of their childhood, the children became successful adults.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Read!

    The story of this family takes you right along with them on their journey from the first page. You feel cold, hot, sad and redeemed right along with them. What a gift to make the horrors of mental illness, poverty and tough luck into a compelling hopeful story.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2010

    Simply Great!

    Thank you Jeannette Walls for sharing your story with the rest of us! It is so touching! This is the story of a dysfunctional family: Dad is an alcoholic, Mom thinks she is an artist, a fixed home is elusive, kids are hungry, etc. Despite all the woes that highlight Jeannette's childhood, she tells the story in such a relaxed and at times, funny tone. It is very easy to read and will definitely spark some good conversation, i.e. parenting, alcoholism, etc.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I couldn't put the book down

    I found this book off a friend, who mentioned the book without explaining the book. As soon as the story started I was hooked, two days later and a lot of neglected chores, I finished the book. This lady had a very interesting and sad life. It was sad becuase you feel really bad for her and the things she had to go through, but you relaize how resilient children can be in tough times. It proved that children do not need to be given everything to succed and love life, but really, her parents could have given her more than what they did. It was in my opinion a good read.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    an awesome book for almost all ages starting at 11 0r 12

    This book first of all was a true life story, This book was meaningful but also inspiring showing how she went from a little poor girl from welch, West Virginia to a big reporter in new york cit. this book showed how having a hard childhood can make u an even better person overall. all in all this book was amazing, inspiring, and overall just a good read. you will find yourself deep in thought wondering what is going to happen next. You should definatly pick this book up at your local barnes and Noble.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    a must-read for all.

    This book was recommended to me by a friend, and once I started reading it I could not put it down. The raw emotion and straight-forward writing style Walls conducts her life story in is both emotionally powerful and bittersweet. With all of the problems she and her family encounter throughout her journey she still writes in a positive style that urges an underlying "I can do anything" message to her readers. After reading this book I'd have to say that this truly is an American story; providing insight to the American Dream, and all that one faces--both good and bad--to get there. This will be a book that I carry its message and contents with me for a long time to come. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a powerful and inspirational read.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A truely inspiring story!

    This is one of the best books I have ever read. Jeanette Walls is a wonderful storyteller. I was completely absorbed in the book and could not put it down until it was finished. I experienced a full range of emotion while reading this book. Jeanette's ability to overcome the poverty and obstacles of her youth is truely inspiring. Since reading this book myself, I have purchased copies to give to loved ones. This is one for your personal library.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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