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 ...
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. What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms. For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.
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I borrowed this book years ago, but it haunted me so I bought it and reread it! Be sure to order the Half-Broke Horse by the same author. Both are autobiographies.
Jan 25, 2013
amazing and amazing
wouldn't believe the trials and hardships endured by the children in the book except had a smaller scale experience, which makes me a good candidate to judge and the book is believable.
Jan 3, 2013
Ace story, well written and a very good read. Crazy family life. Reminded me of my mum struggling to bring up me and my sister on her own. Interesting time when the family arrive in Welch, West Virginia. They must have been there about the same time as the Rocket Boys.
Dec 30, 2010
This is not a book for the faint of heart, very sad and even hard to imagine. You will fall in love with the main player, Jeannette and her strength.
Oct 27, 2010
The Glass Castle
This book was riveting from start to finish. Coming from a dysfunctional family myself, I could relate; but was astounded by the constant moving around by Ms. Walls' parents. Even though I grew up in abject poverty, we at least stayed grounded in school, friends, and environment. It would have been good to hear about the left-out period of her life, during which she improved herself.
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