Now a major motion picture starring Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.
This is a startling memoir of a successful journalist's journey from the deserted and dusty mining towns of the American Southwest, to an antique filled apartment on Park Avenue. Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents.
At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings follow later. After pursuing the education and civilisation her parents sought to escape, Jeanette eventually succeeds in her quest for the 'mundane, middle class existence' she had always craved. In her apartment, overlooked by 'a portrait of someone else's ancestor' she recounts poignant remembered images of star watching with her father, juxtaposed with recollections of irregular meals, accidents and police-car chases and reveals her complex feelings of shame, guilt, pity and pride toward her parents.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Jeannette Walls’ coming-of-age memoir is both a dreamy exploration of childhood wonder and a character-driven tale of parental dysfunction. Walls’ concise tone makes the portrayal of her family especially vibrant and raw: her alcoholic father is a magical and destructive presence, while her free-spirited mother has no gift for domestic responsibility. As Walls matures, her parents’ idiosyncrasies lose their romanticism—she weaves together tales of homelessness, neglect, starry-eyed adventure and familial atonement, seamlessly shifting between childhood innocence and adult frustration. The Glass Castle is as spellbinding as it is harrowing.
Freelance writer Walls doesn't pull her punches. She opens her memoir by describing looking out the window of her taxi, wondering if she's "overdressed for the evening" and spotting her mother on the sidewalk, "rooting through a Dumpster." 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 conventionalize either of them. Her father was a self-taught man, a would-be inventor who could stay longer at a poker table than at most jobs and had "a little bit of a drinking situation," as her mother put it. With a fantastic storytelling knack, Walls describes her artist mom's great gift for rationalizing. Apartment walls so thin they heard all their neighbors? What a bonus they'd "pick up a little Spanish without even studying." Why feed their pets? They'd be helping them "by not allowing them to become dependent." While Walls's father's version of Christmas presents walking each child into the Arizona desert at night and letting each one claim a star was delightful, he wasn't so dear when he stole the kids' hard-earned savings to go on a bender. The Walls children learned to support themselves, eating out of trashcans at school or painting their skin so the holes in their pants didn't show. Buck-toothed Jeannette even tried making her own braces when she heard what orthodontia cost. One by one, each child escaped to New York City. Still, it wasn't long before their parents appeared on their doorsteps. "Why not?" Mom said. "Being homeless is an adventure."
Customer ReviewsSee All
Couldn’t put it down! I had to remind myself many times that it was a true story! Can’t wait for the movie!
The Glass Castle
Loved this book. Jeanette & her sibling's triumph over abject poverty, hardship and their utterly incapable parents is a great read. I loved the way the story is told through the innocent eyes of Jeanette treating everything adults would view with contempt and disdain as just another of Dad's adventures. So well written I could feel the exasperating heat of the American South West desert and the bone chilling, icy cold of the West Virginian valleys. ***** Five stars from me! A terrific read!!
An amazing book I read ages ago and am thrilled that it's available on the iPad now