Download The Glass Castle Online by Jeannette Walls
Click Here to Download the Book 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.
Reviews This was required reading for one of my classes this semester and I wasn't so sure I'd like it. I was hooked after the first five pages. There are people here who want to debate its credibility and call it depressing, but I think it's truly a remarkable piece. Those who have issues with the credibility, I think, may have forgotten what period in time this was. 1960's to present I think is a proper guesstimation. Think about it. If you look at theatre and other trends in society through history, you'll note that America was once very liberal compared to what it is now. People were less anal about protection and security, and it was actually possible that her father was constantly forcing them to move to avoid the IRS and the government. It is an account of gross negligence on behalf of the Walls parents, but those who say that there isn't anything to be learned didn't read to the end or read it all. Ms. Walls has clearly decided from her teenage
years that she won't be like her parents. She's taken care of her siblings and rose above it all to beat the odds and reach success. What we readers can take away from this is that sometimes it takes a great deal to get through the hardest parts of life, but in the end, with enough effort, it pays off.
I'm not sure I can add much to a book that has over 1,500 positive reviews, but the book is so good, I have to try. For me, what instantly drew me in was how effective the story is told from the child's point of view. What, to many adults, would be a highly dysfunctional family arrangement, to a child is a true adventure. The family is leaving another home due to dad's drinking, his inability to hold a job for more than a few months, and mom's quiet codependency, and yet the girls are lying in the desert, counting all the different homes they've had. They sleep beneath the stars that night and consider themselves blessed to be part of such an adventurous family. Our narrator loses her faith in her father slowly. It is painful to watch what we know is inevitable. And yet, it is written so beautifully, so honestly, and so perfectly paced over her young childhood and adolescence, you're left more awed by the reading experience than saddened. Despite some of the conclusions Walls must come to own about her father, her love and affection for him is never lost. It is empowering to watch her maintain her feelings for her parents without falling into their troubling behavior patterns. It is a great journey of growth. One of the reviews on the cover of the book talks about how it is a great marriage of a story worth telling told by a truly worthy storyteller. It was true for me as well. And all the while, you can't help but hear her father's tall tales sitting quietly between every line. A superb book.
First, let me establish that biography and autobiography is not my genre of choice. I began reading this book as a work-related project, but could not put it down. Walls' dead-on, honest approach to telling her own story makes this book a compelling read. As she relates stories from her childhood, her own actions and the actions of her parents are told with the perception of a child--matter-of-fact and lacking in disapproval. She knows no other way of living, so this is how life is lived. As she matures, the book's perspective matures and she begins to understand that life could (and probably should) be different. Because I am the mother of two young children as well as a high school teacher, I am haunted by Walls' ability to keep her hunger and other basic needs so private. Now I often wonder, "Who crosses my path with such secret needs?" I hope I will notice them.
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