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All booksMemoirThe Glass Castle
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle

by Jeannette Walls

Why I love it

Book of the Month

Jeannette's family is unlike other families. Her parents, allergic to "normal" society, lead their children like nomads across the dusty crannies of 1970s rural America, finally settling in a dismal Appalachian mining town. While her whimsical father's zest for life is immeasurable, he is by turns dishonest, unreliable, and an alcoholic. Her mother, an artist, is scornful of her maternal obligations to the point of neglect. As a result, the Walls children learn to feed, clothe, and protect themselves. Somehow, Jeannette's memory of her damaging upbringing is admirably unjudging. Her story is not so much about score-settling as it is an honest, warts-and-all portrait of a family striving to survive on their own terms -- building glass castles, and reaching for shimmering, unattainable dreams. In the end The Glass Castle is a boldly-recounted, deeply personal memoir about the peculiar, unyielding nature of unconditional love.

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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 want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing'”a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.

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Member thoughts

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Love (319)
Like (136)
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483 ratings
  • 66% Love
  • 28% Like
  • 3% Dislike
  • Decherd, TN

    I absolutely love this book!!! I read it a few years ago but wanted to reread it. I'm so glad I ordered it. This book makes you feel every emotion....anger, sympathy, sad, happy, etc. Great uplifting book

  • Erie, PA

    Really makes you think about family and it’s role in each of our lives, how someone we hold in such high esteem may be less than we wanted them to be. Thought provoking and even tear jerking at times.

  • Sacramento , CA

    What a quick read! The story of the Wall family is unbelievable at times. My heart hurt for what they had to survive. However, they were able to overcome and memorialize their story in a beautiful way

  • Owosso , MI

    This will be one of my favorite books and I hate memoirs! Wonderfully written story that has something constantly happening. It made me laugh and cry and at times filled me with rage! Tell Everyone!!!

  • Georgetown, TX

    This real life story will change you. You travel with her through every struggle, and can feel her strength claw her way out of a difficult childhood into an amazing ending - still treasuring family.

  • Hedgesville, WV

    Ah I couldn't put this book down! I fell in love with the children! What I loved the most is what these children had to put up with out of their irresponsible parents and they turned out to be great!

  • Houston, TX

    This was an absolutely amazing book - very well written. It really makes you think about the resiliency of human kind and the many ways a family can be dysfunctional yet retain a strong bond! Top 10

  • Laveen, AZ

    Absolutely amazing. She's an incredibly detailed writer & hooks you from the 1st page. Very talented. & Unbelievable story!! She has such an amazing way of telling it, there's just no down time.

  • New Albany, OH

    Wow! What a heart-wrenching book about family, relationships, and unconditional love. Jeannette's determination to find her place in this world was emotional and beautifully written.

  • Arvada, CO

    The Glass Castle is a beautiful look at the inner workings of a dysfunctional, but deeply loving family. I felt connected to each character and didn't want this memoir to end.

  • Lee, MA

    This book is one of the most powerful books I've ever read. Following this story and how much one child can endure due to her family and watch her grow and prevail! MUST READ!

  • Yucaipa, CA

    An amazing story about survival, love, family, and compassion despite growing up in a neglectful environment by two dysfunctional parents. I love this authors writing style!

  • Kokomo, IN

    As a teacher, it made me think about the lower income students that come through my school every year. That there is a power to rise above circumstances! How awesome!

  • Grand Haven , MI

    Jeannette is an amazing character and this memoir is possibly my favorite of all time. It makes you thankful for what you have and really dives into your emotions.

  • Bryans Road, MD

    Not all parents are created equal. And while they may lack in basic ways, the alternative environment created some pretty brilliant adults. Read this in 12 hours...

  • Greensburg, PA

    It's amazing to me that children survive things like this. I loved and hated this book; if it had been a novel, I'd have abandoned it. It was unforgettably real.

  • Moore, OK

    Fantastic! Sometimes the hardest hero for a girl to watch fall from glory is her father. Even harder is learning how to move on with life and become your own.

  • Gloucester, MA

    When I started reading I wasn’t sure I liked the storyline but as it progressed I wound up loving the people and way Walls writes- brutal, loving, and raw.

  • Pflugerville, TX

    The raw struggles to reach greatness are inspiring. Loved the strength and promise in the story of her life and the lessons she was able to hold onto.

  • Stephens City , VA

    This is the first memoir I’ve ever read and it was so good. While it was sad, it was well-written and kept my attention. I couldn’t put it down!

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