Thursday, June 30, 2011

THE GLASS CASTLE by Jeannette Walls


  • Pub. Date: March 2005

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group


  • Format: NOOK Book (eBook) , 304pp

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, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.


Jeannette Walls lives in Virginia and is married to the writer John Taylor. She is a regular contributor to MSNBC and has worked at several publications, including Esquire, USA Today, and New York. 


  1. I read The Glass Castle and loved it. I hope you'll try her book Half-Broke Horses. It tells the story of her grandma and I thought it was just as good.

  2. Awesome bio!

    Hope you have a fabulous weekend, too, darling!


  3. Bonjour-we will have to celebrate 14th july together-It is the day before my birthday and I must say I always celebrate it. It is a good reason for a croissant-not that one needs a reason.

    Did you see my earlier post about my husbands transit through CDG-and the box of macarons he brought home from Laduree.

    I received macarons, croissants and foie gras. Have to love the French appreciation for food and stocking the kiosks at the airport appropriately.

  4. My mouth is watering, macarons, yummmmm and of course foie gras, miss my home if just for the food and p√Ętisserie.

    Will remember to come over to your blog on the 13 and 14

    Bon week-end Esme

  5. Many people I know and respect have a great admiration for this book. It's seemed too depressing to me, all that poverty and abuse, not that people don't suffer from that every day. I guess I see children coming to the school where I teach with lots of woe, and I'm always trying to eradicate it (wishing I could slap their parents at the same time). Bless Jeanette for being so gracious.

  6. p.s. See you're reading Flappers and Philosophers. I hope you like it as much as I did!

    And, your blog is looking so lovely, Madeleine! Lots of interesting stuff going on here!

  7. Hi Meredith, I agree, it is a harrowing read, that these children became successes on their own is a near miracle. They succeeded by staying close and leaving the parents, it is an incredible read and shows how very resourceful children can be...although this isn't always the case.

  8. I seen Flappers and Philosophers on your blog, Meredith and yes even so I have only read 2 stories I like it. I read short stories before I go to sleep.