The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle

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 w...

Details The Glass Castle

TitleThe Glass Castle
Release DateJan 17th, 2006
Number of pages288 pages
GenreAdult, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Social Issues, Poverty

Reviews The Glass Castle

  • Sparrow
    My sister saw The Glass Castle on my coffee table and said, “Oh, I read that. It’s kind of . . .” then she paused and we both were awkwardly silent for a minute. “Well, I was going to say, it’s kind of like us, a little bit, but not –““Yeah,” I said. “I wasn’t going to say it – because not all of it – ““Yeah, not all of it.”We didn’t talk about it again. When I first saw this book, I think I died a little inside ...
  • Emily May
    Now I get why people like this memoir so much.Though it is a memoir and a true story, both the writing style and the way Walls reminisces about her childhood make it seem like more of a fairy tale. My favourite non-fiction books are those that don't lose the compelling flow of a good fiction book - that still pull you into another world and life, dragging you along for the ride. This is one of those.I especially liked reading about Walls' complex...
  • Angela
    I guess I have a somewhat different frame of reference than several of the reviewers here. I can relate to many of the lessons she learned, and as such, I never had an issue believing her. These things can and do happen. The system fails children, and addicts (whether they're addicted to alcohol or excitement) will seek their fix above all else. As long as the addiction is in the picture, the person just doesn't exist. Children in alcoholic famil...
  • Raeleen Lemay
    4.5/5This was really good! Difficult to read at times, but a marvellous book.
  • Krenzel
    "The Glass Castle" is a memoir written by gossip columnist Jeanette Walls, which details her unconventional childhood growing up with an alcoholic father and a mother who seems to be mentally ill. Walls begins the book by explaining what has prompted her to write about her family: after she has "made it" and become a successful writer living in New York, she comes across her mother picking trash out of a dumpster and, in shame, slinks down in her...
  • Kate
    This book really made me angry--why can people who have absolutely no business having kids be able to have four?Let me backtrack...In the beginning, the Walls family is always on the run. The father is an alcoholic, who is intelligent, but believes everything upon everything is a conspiracy. He can't get a job because of the mafia, the government, the gestapo...The mother has a teaching degree, but chooses to be an artist. The family is barely ab...
  • Annalisa
    What I loved about this book is this: it presents her parents, with all their faults, and the poor mentality, at its worst, without anger, exasperation, or even really any judgment, just with the quirky love we all view our own childhoods. If she had been bitter in her description it would not have been believable, but instead it was tinged with forgiveness making me respect her for not only surviving such a strange childhood to become a successf...
  • Tracy
    Book Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsJeannette Walls proves in her astounding memoir that bad parenting and abject poverty do not necessarily condemn children to a dismal future of the same. In "The Glass Castle" published in 2005 by Scribner, Walls reveals the intimate details of her upbringing within a dysfunctional yet loving family. "The Glass Castle" immediately grips you with an opening scene in which Walls, as an adult in New Yo...
  • Juliet
    Okay, I originally gave this one star but then had to go back and re-rate it to a two b/c I surprised a couple of you guys and in my impulsive way, I realized perhaps one star was a bit too knee jerk.It's not that I hated The Glass Castle, it's just that it irritated me with its self-conscious narrative style. Too much "look at how horrible things were!" and not enough detail or challenges to make me really care.The same stories are told and re-t...
  • Fabian
    The warning is this: If you are going to become parents you must simply forego being bohemian. Otherwise your children might grow up to be super successful & you will end up eating trash off dark alleyways...Peculiar upbringings are what memoirs are made of! We saw this in the Frank McCourt gray & sad "Angela's Ashes", and even more so in any of the Augusten Burroughs books (mainly "Running with Scissors"). When memoirs are like this, invigoratin...
  • Nicole
    Why is it that I hated this book when everyone else thinks it was good? It annoyed me on so many levels. I kept thinking to myself...."alright, I get sucks, move on". I just have so little sympathy and empathy sometimes, especially in books, that this just IRKED me. Sure, the writing was well done, the prose effective, the story was a bit enchanting...I just could NOT understand why this book got such great reviews. In fact, the reviews...
  • Madeleine
    It's no secret that I get to read on the job. I proofread for a financial publisher, which means that I spend my days getting lost in the lilting legalese of prospectuses, trustee meeting results, shareholder reports, highlight sheets – it's riveting stuff, trust me. But we're a small operation with only a few clients and the fiscal schedule is defined by a feast-or-famine work flow: While the numbers are still being tabulated, portfolio manage...
  • Scot
    I know many people love this book, remarking on how powerful and moving it was, but I had some deep problems with the narrator's memory process, and some issues about what lessons I was ultimately supposed to learn here. It is a riveting tale, full of unforgettable suffering, strife, and perseverance, about growing up with two bohemian-minded parents, one a raging alcoholic and the other a manic depressive. It is the story of the dangerous synerg...
  • Suzanne
    Honestly, simply a must read. Wow. Firstly, thank you to my friend Elyse for recommending this book. She knows what I like. Wow this woman. Wow this family. I have just finished reading this books last pages whilst making my lasagne to feed my family, hastily stirring the white sauce and throwing in the bay leaves. The irony isn't lost on me.. I needed to finish this story. But! Mental illness is all around. This family is a perfect example, and ...
  • Marcie
    Once I let my frustration with the parents' neglect go, I actually enjoyed this book. Because of her matter-of-fact, non-whining writing, I enjoyed reading this book the entire time and actually put off other things so I could read more. As a disclaimer to my following comments, I am in no way condoning all of their parenting style and I also acknowledge they did not provide for their children like a parent should, but I have to say that I learne...
  • LeAnne
    Just finished reading this fantastic memoir for the second time after having enjoyed it the first go round over a decade ago. Knowing what was coming down the track, this reading was even more satisfying, as I could slow down and savor her words instead of rushing ahead.I thought that everybody in the world had already read this but am in a new book club where my husband and I were the only ones lucky enough to have already done so. What a treat ...
  • lkt
    From my review:"Sometimes people get the lives they want..." A stunning memoir, hard to put down. Walls is superb with details, a true genius. She is a fine example of a self-made, successful person. But throughout most of the book, I was so angry with the parents, her mother in particular: When the kids had nothing to eat, she hid a king-sized Hershey bar in her bed for herself. She had an excuse for her behavior, whining that she's a...
  • Richard Derus
    MARCH 2017 UPDATE: There will be a film starring Brie Larson as Ms. Walls, Naomi Watts as her mother, and Woody Harrellson as her father, released at some as-yet unnannounced date in 2017.Rating: 4* of fiveThe Publisher Says: 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 h...
  • Melki
    This is not a review. There are already thousands of those. Instead, I present an anecdote.I read this in 2008 for my now-defunct neighborhood book club. I decided that my oldest son, who was then 14, should read it for "Mom's Summer Reading Plan" - also known as the Mom-Forces-Us-To-Read-For-Half-An-Hour-Each-Day-Torture-Program by certain members of the family. I felt it was important for him to learn that not every child gets to grow up in a h...
  • Snotchocheez
    Despite my extreme reluctance to reading family dysfunction memoirs, it was (thanks to my Goodreads friends' overwhelmingly positive reception to this, as well as an announcement of its big-screen adaptation) nigh time to finally give it a try.What Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle lacks in poetic splash and clear-cut veracity, it more than makes up for with the one of the most compulsively readable, train-wreckiest stories about an f'ed-up child...
  • Sam
    It's hard in some ways to write a review for The Glass Castle, a bestselling, beloved book that I've been aware of since it came out in hardcover and then paperback and I remember we could never seem to keep it in stock as a teenager working part time at an indie bookstore. I didn't read much nonfiction then, so I never picked it up. Only now have I turned my attention to Jeannette Walls' memoir, seeing it as some glaring oversight in terms of bi...
  • Polly
    A friend suggested that I read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls a few months ago, and I have to admit when she first described it I was a bit leery. I thought it was going to be one of those “poor pitiful me” sagas about growing up with shitty parents. But I had heard a few things on the news about this woman and figured it was worth a try.First and foremost this book is anything but a “poor pitiful me” story. Is they author’s life d...
  • Maureen
    I really enjoyed this memoir a lot. It is well written, interesting, and insightful. I liked getting this look into a family life that was so unlike mine. That being said, her story is so powerful and moving because despite all the things that happen to her she is still loving and forgiving.Overall really fantastic, this has probably ruined me for any other memoirs.
  • Diane
    OK, all right, I read The Glass Castle. Stop nagging me already.I've been avoiding this book for years because I was tired of dysfunctional family memoirs. Bookstores are saturated with them. Enough, I say!But I finally caved because I had loved Walls' novel Half Broke Horses, and because so many friends had raved about Glass Castle. (And if you haven't read Half Broke Horses, I highly recommend it.) Walls has a brisk writing style that I really ...
  • Vanessa
    A million stars!!! I LOVED this book! I wish I had had non stop uninterrupted hours to devour this book but I also didn't want it to end. I loved the family dynamics. What a unique bunch of people! The writing is simple and incredibly accessible so you felt really at home reading along. I actually had times where I felt envious of this nomadic carefree life that it had me rethinking my life of conventional suburban living. Made me think what a sh...
  • Perry
    "We're giving love in a family dose""We are family,I got all my sisters with me"Rodgers/Edwards, We Are Family, 1978.The Glass Castle is a family fugue, with odes of joy mincing oh so many winces. Drunk dad, manic mom, 4 kids, living in poverty. I think this broke my all-time record for head shakes during reading, at what those parents put those kids through and the hell they gave each other. Yet, for all that the dad and mom took away and denied...
  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    I grew up in a similar situation as Ms. Walls. One thing that she has done that I haven't been able to make myself do is talk about my parents in a good light. She doesn't speak of her parents with any bad feelings. I did do that. I've made peace with my dad but my mom still pushes all my buttons. I loved this book. I can see myself finally starting to put the past behind me. We make ourselves what we are, our parents just give birth.
  • Sondra Santos
    Somehow the narrator steps outside of her unusual and unimaginable life and speaks about her experiences as if she was referring to someone else. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a memoir and not a work of fiction and that these were situations that were not created but recalled, and with such vivid details.There are four children in the Walls' family, all of whom turned out quite differently and whose experiences brought them to diff...
  • Shayantani Das
    Jeannette Walls, as a narrator, is such a delight to read. My first thought after finishing this novel was that I really really want to meet her in person. I had zero knowledge about who she was before I picked up her memoir, primarily due to the high ratings it has received from friends. After reading “The Glass Castle” though, I am most definitely a fan.Jeannette Walls had the kind of life, which could have easily been recounted in a typica...
  • Karolina
    In consideration of others, I think it's nice that this book was so straight-forwardly written, but at the same time, that's what made it very boring to me. I had a hard time visualizing anything because description of such was limited, and there was a lot of slang I didn't get. There were some really striking scenes in here, but after the first few, they got old. The scene I liked best was when Jeanette's father gives her Venus for Christmas.I r...