The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

WOW!!!!  WOW!!!!  I cannot believe what an awesome and very scary story this was!  I had to stop and remember every once in a while that this is a true story!  This is the story of the author’s childhood.  The adventures they experienced were amazing – both in an exciting way and in a horrifying way!  The author’s writing style grabbed me right from the start – it is written in the first person and boys oh boys! I was just unable to stop thinking about this story!

Jeanette was the second of the four Walls children.  Her father was an entrepreneur with aspirations to build a glass castle for his family.  Her mother was an artist and a teacher, with no great aspirations whatsoever.  It seemed that every time the family got settled in a town, there would come a day when Dad decided it was time to do “the skedaddle”.  They moved from California to the desert to Phoenix to Welch, West Virginia and finally New York city.  It’s a truly sad story about a very hard life – yet at the end I’m left bewildered and thinking very poorly of the Mom.  Turns out she was sitting on a gold mine and did nothing with it, while her own children had no roof over their heads or food for a good part of their childhood.  I am truly amazed though at the resourcefulness of the children and how they were able to survive their childhood and became very successful adults!

I know this is not a typical YA book, however, it’s one of those books that I believe many young adults would enjoy and yes! could learn a lot from.  I would hope that many would leave this book with a greater sense of appreciation for the support their parents provide them.  A truly inspirational and wonderfully written story!  I’ll guarantee that you’ll struggle putting this book down once you start it!

Highly Recommended

Favourite quotes:

“Dad was an expert in math and physics and electricity.  He read books on calculus and logarithmic algebra and loved what he called the poetry and symmetry of math.  He told us about the magic qualities every number has and how numbers unlock the secrets of the universe.”         p. 23

” Mom waved at the crowd.  ‘You know you’re down and out when Okies laugh at you’, she said.  With our garbage-bag-taped window, our roped-down hood, and the art supplies tied to the roof, we’d out-Okied the Okies.  The thought gave her a fit of giggles.”           p. 129

Walls, Jeannette. (2006)  The Glass Castle. New York, NY: Scribner

Jeannette Walls – Official Publisher website:


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