The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle

A Memoir

Book - 2006
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The child of an alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother discusses her family's nomadic upbringing, during which she and her siblings fended for themselves while their parents outmaneuvered bill collectors and the authorities.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2006, c2005.
Edition: 1st Scribner trade pbk. ed.
ISBN: 9780743247542
Characteristics: 288 p. ; 24 cm.


From the critics

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Mar 20, 2018

I loved The Glass Castle
Thank you for sharing your life with me.

vm510 Jan 11, 2018

Most of this book is rather shocking, but I think what really made this story shine is the narrative style Walls uses. Her voice is engaging and at times even entertaining. All of Walls' life stories and realizations are complex and she shows the reader how she could disapprove of her parents' decisions but still love them nonetheless. If you enjoy memoirs, this is one to check out.

Nov 12, 2017

A beautifully written, exquisite memoir about the Author's life and times. I loved this book. Just whisked me away to another land, another time. The impeccable story-telling was so vivid, so compelling, joyous, heart-wrenching. It makes me thankful for what I have now, and had as a child, but that said, the authors vivaciousness and tenacity is mind-blowing.

Oct 24, 2017

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is probably one of my favourite books at the moment. I would say that this could be a controversial book if you were to focus on the peculiarity and uniqueness of the parents’ values; many times while reading the book I was appalled by the reactions of the parents when their children were inappropriately taken advantage of at the hands of family members and outsiders. While the parents themselves seemed a little odd with their teachings, what really fascinated me in the book was when the whole family did the “ske-daddle” more than once; they moved from one place to another, each place becoming worse than the last. Their lives were going downhill and the way Jeannette Walls described their living conditions, I often stopped the book and looked around my own home, imagining how my life would be if I was in the main character, Jeannette’s, place. This book was compelling but realistic, opening up the broad world of hardships to young adults reading this book. I recommend this book for readers ages 14 and up. I give this book a 5/5 star rating.
- @ilovefood of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

While I respect the popularity that The Glass Castle has in the community, I believe it is one of the worst books I have ever read for two reasons: the mother, and the father of the protagonist.
These two characters are some of the most dislikable morons I have seen in any media. The whole story revolves around them not liking city culture for some reason, and doing everything in their power to not admit that they’re poor, or trying to fix it. The mother does get better at some intervals, but I always think throughout the story that the father is actively trying to sabotage his own children’s futures.
I do think it has an interesting narrative, but even then, most of the problems in and of this story would be nonexistent if the parents just smartened up. And since this is a memoir, I actively feel sorry for the protagonist.
I give this story a 1 out of 5, and I do not recommend it whatsoever.
- @RhythmDragon of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

Oct 23, 2017

I was blown away by the stories of sheer determination by the children in this family. So many twists and turns. I definitely recommend this book!

Oct 09, 2017

There are few memoirs that I can pick up and not want to put down. I love them, but they usually don't hook me in quickly. The Glass Castle was different. From the first pages on her parents being homeless and her living on Park Avenue, I knew I would love this book.

To say Jeannette Walls had an unusual upbringing would be an understatement. Latch-key wouldn't even be the correct term for her childhood. She raised herself for the most part - the pieces her parents contributed to she worked into a valuable lesson. I'm shocked she made it to be honest, even more so that only one of her siblings had issues living in the world after their upbringing. Being dealt the hand Jeannette wrote about, would have damaged many people beyond repair.

I knew a few people said they felt sorry for the parents, but I didn't feel any sympathy. They were awful. The mother was selfish, and I truly believe she didn't care about her children's well-being. The father may have cared, but cared more about alcohol. The Glass Castle could be renamed as 'Parenting: What not to do.' If you even do a few of the things mentioned in the book I don't believe you should have children.

I'm glad I read it, and I plan on reading more of her work in the future. I just need time as The Glass Castle broke my heart. The movie will probably be fantastic.

HCL_staff_reviews Sep 15, 2017

This memoir is one girl's story of growing up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father and a mother who suffers from codependency and other problems. Once you begin reading, you won't be able to put it down. Walls and her siblings turn to each other for compassion, humor and love. She is steadfastly honest and courageously accepts her family's many moves in the middle of the night, and the lack of steadiness and friendships while doing her best to get on with life in a positive manner. — Barb H., Outreach Services

Sep 07, 2017

You can't make this stuff up! Walls not only has a remarkable history but can record it so the reader travels along in sympathy, awe, heartbreak, and with sense of triumph. Just when you think your family had dysfunctions.....................

Aug 26, 2017

This book was absolutely amazing. So vividly written that you cannot put it down! I still am dumbfounded by the truth of the author's life. At times I wanted to SCREAM for her or cry my eyes out. I am also still wondering about Maureen. You will not be disappointed with this book!

Jul 05, 2017

The Glass Castle is amazing. Every so often I would exclaim "OH MY GOSH" or "WHAT" or feel tears collecting at the corners of my eyes. Walls has shared her story with the world in a beautiful way, no matter how ugly the reality of her circumstances may have been. Her prose is so engaging, and I do not remember a time when I was bored or waiting for a section to finish. Her voice pulls at the heartstrings and also uplifts. I'm so glad I read this book.

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Add Age Suitability

May 18, 2017

jmli thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Aug 15, 2015

ecarr1212 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Nov 17, 2014

MADKC4Ever thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

ellegibson Jul 17, 2014

ellegibson thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

orange_squirrel_4 Aug 23, 2013

orange_squirrel_4 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Ninja_Kevin Jun 17, 2012

Ninja_Kevin thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary

May 18, 2017

The story revolves mostly around the childhood of the author. It describes the nomadic lifestyle of the Walls and how the children have learned to grow without their parents' support. The Glass Castle is mainly telling the dysfunctional connections in this dysfunctional family.

Jun 19, 2015

A journalist remembers her challenging, unconventional and impoverished childhood & the family with whom she shared these challenges.

Bonavista May 06, 2011

I loved that she went through so much as a child and teenager but still held the faith the whole time and came out of it. I think, a better person for it.

carlakacz May 03, 2011

This was a very intriguing book to read, a glimpse into someones life that is almost unbelievable.

Feb 16, 2011

Remarkable memoir of resilence and redemption and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeanette's brillant and charismatic father catured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishones 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 propsered.


Add Notices

Aug 04, 2017

Coarse Language: Jeanette's father does tend to cuss frequently.

May 18, 2017

Sexual Content: 2 somewhat sexual scenes in regards to the protagonist.


Add a Quote

May 18, 2017

"It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty." - Rose Mary Wells

Nov 17, 2014

"I'm not upset because I'll miss you," Mom said. "I'm upset because you get to go to New York and I'm stuck here. It's not fair."

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