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The Glass Castle Paperback – 4 May 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 192 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Virago; New Ed edition (4 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844081826
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844081820
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 2.4 x 15.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Walls doesn't pull her punches. 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 conventionalise either of them. [Walls has] a fantastic storytelling knack.' Publishers Weekly '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 and Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments * 'Like JD Salinger or Hemingway before her, Jeannette Walls has the talent of knowing exactly how to let a story tell itself, crafted without self-pity or analysis or judgement' Independent on Sunday * 'A terrific story, grippingly told' Sunday Times * 'Funny and brilliantly written' Evening Herald * 'There isn't a shred of self-pity in this deeply compassionate book' Marie Claire

Book Description

Walls has carved a story with precision and grace out of one of the most chaotic, heart-breaking childhoods... 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

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 9 April 2005
Format: Hardcover
Jeannette Walls writes a very powerful and desperately honest account of her childhood. Raised by an alcoholic father and disinterested mother, she tells of the struggles herself and her siblings faced surviving poverty, neglect, and abuse in the US. Jeannette's account of her childhood is told with humour and acceptance, and I wasnt able to put the book down. A great read.
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By Mr. Joe HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
"I had no idea what my life would be like then, but as I gathered up my schoolbooks and walked out the door, I swore to myself that it would never be like Mom's, that I would not be crying my eyes out in an unheated shack in some godforsaken holler." - Jeannette Walls

"I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening (party), when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster ... She had tied rags around her shoulders to keep out the spring chill ... To the people walking by, she probably looked like any of the thousands of homeless people in New York City ... 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." - Jeannette Walls

THE GLASS CASTLE by Jeannette Walls is the second-best book I've read this year to date, the best being Still Alice by Lisa Genova.

Rose Mary and Rex Walls were married in 1956. Over the next several years, they had four children - daughters Lori, Jeannette and Maureen and son Brian. Anti-establishment and anti-authoritarian individualists frequently on the run from something, the couple refused to enter the societal mainstream even to the extent of supplying their children with the conventionally acceptable American upbringing that stipulates freedom from hunger and the provision of adequate shelter and clothing. THE GLASS CASTLE is Jeanette's poignant and powerful memoir of growing up emotionally loved but materially deprived.

From Jeannette's narrative, it's soon apparent that her parents are gifted and intelligent human beings.
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Format: Paperback
I recently picked up this book whilst travelling and am so glad I did. Within a couple of pages I was completely hooked. The gentle account of the author's turbulent and tough life through her younger years is beautifully written and easy to read. Jeanette Walls has a way of reporting her own Mother's home spun philosophies as if she were that age again.

I was engrossed from start to finish and, whilst I wanted the traumatic conditions to end, I didn't want the story to end.

Buy it, read it, enjoy it.

The Glass Castle
The Glass Castle
The Glass Castle: A Memoir (Alex Awards (Awards))
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Format: Paperback
Although ostensibly a misery memoir like 'Angela's Ashes' and 'The Road To Nab End' Jeannette Walls' 'The Glass Castle' depicts a far more upbeat view of a childhood of abject poverty than her fellow sufferers across the pond.

Brought up by a feckless alcoholic father expert in the art of the moonlight flit and an equally feckless mother who, despite having the means and qualifications to support her family chose to neglect her children to indulge her own passion for painting, you could forgive Jeannette for being bitter. But very little bitterness surfaces even though she could give The Pythons' Four Yorkshiremen a run for their money - 'you were lucky, we had to scavenge for food in the school garbage, our toilet was a bucket on the kitchen floor and I had to paint black spots on my legs to render the holes in my trousers invisible'.

The book charts Jeannette's nomadic childhood in the American West living in desert, mountains and all the terrain in between. It's written in the crisp, journalistic style of her eventual career which makes the memoir extremely readable - I finished it inside forty eight hours. But it isn't simply factual, there are some wonderful descriptive passages on the adventures that she and her brother Brian had as underdogs - the lowest of the low - in places where the whole town was at the bottom of the social scale.

Jeannette ended up living grandly on Park Avenue while her parents lived homeless on the New York streets. She writes lovingly about her father whose catch phrase "would I ever let you down?" she always responded to through gritted teeth.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this on a flight to Australia and it distracted me from my fear of flying. It's well-written and, despite the subject matter, is never sentimental or over-emotional. Jeanette and her siblings were at the mercy of eccentric, selfish, feckless parents but she relates events with a calmness and even-handedness that somehow makes things even more shocking. Her nomadic childhood was full of interesting people and events that make for a gripping read. Her clever, charismatic father is gradually revealed to her as the delusional alcoholic he really is. Yet she doesn't rail against him, but realises she must escape to the city to make her own way in life. Her mother has no mothering instinct whatsoever, but Jeanette and her siblings just accept her as she is. This book is a good choice for a reading group.
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