Friday, April 6, 2012

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Book Summery (Via Goodreads): 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.
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.

Book Trailer:

Book Review:
It is so hard to put my emotions into words after reading this book. I stumbled across the title on goodreads (I am on there waaaaay too much!), and picked up a copy of The Glass Castle, along with Half-Broke Horses, both of which are by Jeanette Walls. She writes with such a honest, non-biased approach. After watching everything I can about her on the internets, I can only conclude that this woman is a saint. She speaks with such charisma and understanding. I am amazed by her as a person, and by her story. I can not imagine the hurt, pain, and humiliation she had to endure growing up. She had done a fabulous job of keeping her family out of the spotlight. However, I definitely have my theories. Of course, her dad was an alcoholic, but I also wonder if her mother is bipolar? Many of her descriptions of "good days" and "bad days" as well as her descriptions of her cyclic moods seem to fit the bill. When asked, Walls just always replies "Mom is kooky." I wonder if she is attempting to keep a semi-good name for her mother, or if she hasn't been tested. I could see Wall's as perceiving this as "crossing a line." Anyways, I digress. There were times this book had me near tears, or cheering along. Needless to say, it's an emotional story of strength, endurance, and love. READ IT. IMMEDIATELY! I will need to take a break with something light and fluffy before moving on to Half-Broke Horses.

Favorite Quote:
“You should never hate anyone, even your worst enemies. Everyone has something good about them. You have to find the redeeming quality and love the person for that.” 

“No one expected you to amount to much," she told me. "Lori was the smart one, Maureen the pretty one, and Brian the brave one. You never had much going for you except that you always worked hard.” 

“One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. "You'd be destroying what makes it special," she said. "It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty.” 

Cover Art Commentary:
So, the cover of the book I own, is the one of the lower right hand side. I featured the one on top because I thought it best displayed the childhood perception of perceived happiness with the little girl in her dress up clothes, happy as can be, while the reality of living in the middle of nowhere, penniless is represented by the broken-down car below.



  1. What amazing quotes. This sounds genuinely good. Great review darling.

  2. I read this too and rhought - wow, good book ... but what a way to grow up! I don't even know how she had the strength to overcome!