The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

80%

57 Critic Reviews

READERS will marvel at the intelligence and resilience of the Walls kids. We root for them when they escape, one by one, to New York City...
-NY Times

Synopsis

MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS ON THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST

The first book by the beloved author of the new novel The Silver Star, the extraordinary, one-of-a-kind, “nothing short of spectacular” (Entertainment Weekly) memoir from one of the world’s most gifted storytellers.

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.
 

About Jeannette Walls

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Jeannette Walls was born in Phoenix, Arizona on April 21, 1960. She graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York City for twenty years. Her books include her memoir entitled,The Glass Castle and a fiction novel based on her grandmother entitled, Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel. Walls has also written for New York Magazine, Esquire and USA Today. She lives in Manhattan with ther husband, journalist John J. Taylor.
 
Published December 15, 2006 by Scribner. 353 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Parenting & Relationships, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Sep 16 2012
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Glass Castle
All: 57 | Positive: 50 | Negative: 7

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Dec 15 2004

Walls’s journalistic bare-bones style makes for a chilling, wrenching, incredible testimony of childhood neglect. A pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps, thoroughly American story

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Viktor Koen on Mar 13 2005

READERS will marvel at the intelligence and resilience of the Walls kids. We root for them when they escape, one by one, to New York City...

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Jan 17 2005

Freelance writer Walls doesn't pull her punches...in this excellent, unusual book

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by This End Up on Feb 06 2007

I wish Ms. Walls had been honest and titled her book “The highly fictionalized, loosely based memoir of my life”. Then I’d feel much better about calling it a biography.

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Blog Critics

Below average
Reviewed by Ginger Haycox on Feb 06 2007

I wish Ms. Walls had been honest and titled her book “The highly fictionalized, loosely based memoir of my life”. Then I’d feel much better about calling it a biography.

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Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Cory Daniel on May 05 2013

Don’t just walk, run, to the library or store to pick up Jeannette Walls book and fall head first into her world where she inspires you to not feel bad for her past but to be true to yourself whether that is by being a New York Times bestselling author or an individual who enjoys diving though dumpsters for food.

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Examiner

Above average
Reviewed by Lindsay Howell on Sep 02 2011

“The Glass Castle” sheds light on the conditions in rural West Virginia and Appalachia as a whole. The first step to solving problems is awareness; Walls makes her readers aware of the issues in Appalachia using astounding images of indigence and dysfunction.

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Examiner

Good
on Jun 23 2011

What makes THE GLASS CASTLE so remarkable is Walls’ ability to tell the story with love and respect for her parents, in spite of all that they put her family through. It is an unemotional but vibrant account of how Walls and two of her siblings learned to take care of themselves and ultimately thrive...

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Michelle Wrambel on Jan 11 2011

With each new location comes an entirely new set of complications. Walls living conditions are far from ideal and though she describes in chilling detail how difficult life could have been, we rarely witness a “woe is me” sort of mentality from this narrator.

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Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Sarah Dansey on Apr 30 2009

That she almost never loses her temper while writing, never insults or belittles her parents with written words, is probably the boldest and most amazing statement she makes in her book. The Glass Castle is a wonderful book. It's a quick read that will linger longer than most...

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Booklist Online

Good
on Sep 23 2013

Teens who like memoirs may want to read this disturbing, yet compelling, story of the quintessential dysfunctional family.

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Story Circle Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Janet Caplan on Mar 15 2007

This memoir exudes humor, love, warmth and almost a shrug of the shoulders at the family life created by their parents. It is a breath of fresh air in terms of the "me as victim" scenario painted by many today.

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Shelf Life ~ Book reviews from the VC/UHV Library

Excellent
Reviewed by vcuhvlibrarian on Aug 22 2012

There are setback along the way, but The Glass Castle is the story of a woman’s determination to break free from the life she grew up with.

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Birmingham Public Library

Excellent
Reviewed by Richard Grooms on Aug 03 2010

Rex never gets to build his dream house which is the Glass Castle of the title. But his daughter has, with her style, her compassion and her all, left us an account that stands admirably well despite the anarchy that would overthrow most troubled lives: a sort of Glass Castle indeed.

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Ben Casnocha

Excellent
Reviewed by Ben Casnocha on Nov 16 2009

...is a marvel of a memoir: a remarkable story of a materially impoverished yet highly intellectual family, told in the humane and empathetic voice of one of the daughters, Jeannette.

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Fighting for Life

Good
Reviewed by Melissa May on Oct 28 2010

There are some fantastic life lessons in this book, if you can get past the horror of what these children faced.

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Today Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Denise Hazlick on Mar 20 2006

“The Glass Castle” is a no-holds barred tale of a nomadic, deprived childhood told with the hypnotic wonderment of a child

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Stoutonia

Excellent
Reviewed by RACHEL POLICANO on Apr 05 2012

Through her hardships and experiences, I came upon some of my greatest realizations about life and living...

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by JennaE on Sep 23 2013

Personally, I thought this book was ok. I generally like the whole thing, but I constantly found myself very angry at the Parents. Their skewed image of everything really annoying and make you just think “what!” It also irritated me that the mother did absolutely nothing to help her family out.

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Teen Ink

Above average
on Sep 23 2013

In the end of “The Glass Castle” Jeannette Walls gives you some vivid images of her family and how they all ended up. Reading this book helps you realize that no matter who your family is, they’ll always be there for you in the end. You should always be grateful for what you have today, because you might not have it tomorrow.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by KTLS on Sep 23 2013

Read the book. You’ll see how people on the other side of the poverty line live, and maybe you’ll be a bit more likely to give your change to that homeless man on the street.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Monique F

The Glass Castle is a captivating book that grabs readers and takes them on a journey of pain, suffering, and triumph. By the end, readers will gain a new perspective on life.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Kiaashley on Sep 23 2013

Overall, Walls’ gives a look into a story we all have heard a million times, the rags to riches story, but focuses on the rags. I recommend it to people who enjoy stories of hardship and triumph.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by iTeenLoveQuotes on Sep 23 2013

Jeannette Walls is not like any ordinary girl, nobody can compare to her disfunctional childhood. The Glass Castle makes you reconsider your own life and to be thankful for what you have.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Sarah M. on Sep 23 2013

The Glass Castle is a timeless book that leaves you with a marvelous sense of appreciation and will stick with you always.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Monique F. on Sep 23 2013

The Glass Castle is a captivating book that grabs readers and takes them on a journey of pain, suffering, and triumph. By the end, readers will gain a new perspective on life.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Teen Ink

it was full of fun, sad, and exciting stories from Walls' childhood. It was one of the best books I've read.

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Yahoo! Voices

Good
Reviewed by Roberto Sedycias on Jun 20 2012

Through it all, at least the brother and sisters stayed true to each other and Jeannette wrote it that way. This is an excellent piece of work that must have taken a great deal out of the writer as she worked her way through it.

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Yahoo! Voices

Good
Reviewed by Freida Thomas on Feb 13 2011

It would be wise to read this incredible traumatic, yet hopeful memoir to find out what else transpired for the siblings, Rex and Rose Mary. There are many more dynamics in this family! You will be changed by reading "The Glass Castle," by Jeannette Walls.

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Yahoo! Voices

Good
Reviewed by Christine Zibas on Nov 01 2009

Yet the story is one of love and family togetherness, of ingenuity and survival under the most trying of circumstances.

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Yahoo! Voices

Above average
Reviewed by Paige Nieto on Jul 14 2009

This is a somewhat hard book to read. You read it wondering how these children managed to stay with their parents and not get taken away. You wonder how it is Walls doesn't resent her parents for the selfish way they lived their live and as such had their children live.

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Yahoo! Voices

Below average
Reviewed by Lois Weisberg on Jun 19 2009

...I would like to get on my soap box and say that in the past, memoirs, autobiographies, and biographies were always guaranteed to be true. Novels were fiction. For someone to embellish the truth with some fiction and call it a memoir is an absolute blasphemy to the written word.

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EzineArticles

Good
Reviewed by Tracy Falbe on Jul 13 2007

The Glass Castle is mesmerizing and an impossible book to put down. It is truly a masterpiece of storytelling and far superior than the typical bestseller.

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Gather Books

Good
Reviewed by Kathryn E. on Jan 13 2007

As you read Jeannette Walls' best-selling, riveting memoir of a nomadic childhood with an artist mother and an alcoholic father, you will find yourself dancing along the edges of smiles and sorrow -- not knowing whether to laugh or cry. Likely, you will do both.

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Quick Book Reviews

Good
Mar 09 2012

she truly reflects on the people she met and the events she had been through offering some very valuable insight not only into her life, but also into human nature in general.

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Before It's News

Good
on May 08 2013

The book will make you laugh in parts, but mostly it will make you cry, and appreciate whatever it is that you have in life. I highly recommend this book.

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Book Chatter

Good
Reviewed by Tina on Jan 14 2011

At its core, The Glass Castle is a story of survival which will break your heart and leave you cheering.

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Reading for Sanity

Good
Reviewed by Sweet Em on Mar 01 2009

...full of vibrant, intelligent, pulled together adults and I realized that the failings of our parents are what have made us the people we are - and hopefully we are reaching a stage where we like that person complete with the echo's of our parents' influence in every corner.

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The Introverted Reader

Above average
Reviewed by Introverted Jen on Nov 30 2008

I'm torn on rating this book. I read it in one day. I really couldn't put it down. But at the same time, this isn't the normal kind of book I read and I can't really say that I enjoyed it.

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It's All About Books

Good
Reviewed by Suey on Mar 10 2011

What a story it is! Gripping! Sad! Funny in parts! Inspiring! All of it. Wow

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Reeder Reads

Good
Mar 20 2011

It’s a real depiction of poverty and it’s one that made me personally thankful for being blessed for all the fortunate things that I have in my life

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Caroline Bookbinder

Excellent
Reviewed by Carin Siegfried on Apr 22 2011

Ms. Walls is a fantastic writer. I felt like I was there with her...and the writing was so smooth and effortless. I hated the few times I had to put down the book, I ripped through it...and thoroughly loved this book. Riveting and evocative, I couldn't tear myself away from this memoir of the childhood from hell.

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Clear Eyes, Full Shelves

Good
Reviewed by Sandra on Jan 02 2013

This revelatory and ultimately uplifting memoir left me feeling that despite what obstacles may roll into one’s path, they can be surmounted with the strength of an individual’s spirit to guide them onward. It’s enough to say that while sad and shocking, this true story is inspiring.

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Opinions of a Wolf Blog

Good
Reviewed by wolfshowl on Sep 10 2009

Jeannette is an excellent writer and an incredible human being. Readers will be astounded not only at her unique, messed-up childhood but also at how she overcame it and simultaneously maintained sympathy for her parents who so wronged her. Jeannette is an inspiration in multiple ways, and her memoir is definitely worth the read.

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Books And Movies

Good
Reviewed by CarrieK on Dec 02 2010

She writes her story with a clear eye for the reality of the awfulness of her childhood, but also with an affection for her family that comes through on every page.

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Patti Smith

Good
Reviewed by Peppermint Ph D on Aug 07 2010

The Glass Castle is a story of survival and an example that what we think we see and know about the rest of the world outside our own experiences and comfort zone is not always what it seems.

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Publishing A Book Is An Adventure

Good
Reviewed by Patricia on Feb 09 2012

For anyone looking for a funny, emotional, thoroughly engaging read, I would highly suggest picking up The Glass Castle.

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Ripple Effects

Good
Reviewed by Arti on Aug 03 2008

Walls’ account is candid and personal, poignant with cutting humor.

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The Book Lady's Blog

Good
Reviewed by Rebecca Joines Schinsky on Jul 13 2008

Walls’s writing is straightforward and honest, and her voice is strong and authentic.

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Booking Through 365

Excellent
Reviewed by Emma on Aug 27 2013

It's a stunning visit into the lives of adults who act like children, and it remains fair in its perspective. I'd recommend this book to anyone.

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http://ageeksaga.blogspot.com

Above average
Reviewed by Tara on Jun 14 2013

...to be completely honest, I can't understand how things turned out that well for her, and therefore have to call this 'memoir' at least a bit of an exaggeration - no matter how well it was written.

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The Tech

Good
Reviewed by Jillian Berry on Jun 09 2006

Aside from the ending, this is an excellent read, and I highly recommend it for the summer during our respite from exams and problem sets. I am sure you will be as shocked and amazed as I was to find out just how crazy a life can be.

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A Literary Odyssey

Good
Reviewed by Allie on Dec 14 2010

I was hooked and finished the book in one long sitting on my couch. It was moving and deep and beautifully written.

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Busy Moms Who Love to Read

Good
Reviewed by Pamela Olsen on Apr 09 2010

I would recommend this book. But be forewarned, it is in no way a happy read, you will be disturbed. There is ever form of abuse in this book and Jeannette Walls is a very descriptive and talented author.

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JO-JO LOVES TO READ

Good
Reviewed by JO-JO on Nov 30 2011

With themes of family, loyalty, and perseverance, this book will keep you up later as you will be hesitant to set back on the nightstand before going to sleep.

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Caroline Bookbinder

Good
Reviewed by Carin Siegfried on Apr 22 2011

I felt like I was there with her (although phenomenally grateful that I wasn't!) and the writing was so smooth and effortless. I hated the few times I had to put down the book...

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Tip of the Iceberg

Good
Reviewed by Terri on Jun 05 2007

Ms. Walls has indeed created beauty from her struggle. An overall good, and moving, read.

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Reader Rating for The Glass Castle
89%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 7025 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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C Boyce 2 Sep 2013

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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Winnie Lim 5 Sep 2013

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