Reader reviews for The Glass Castle: A Memoir

Very impressive how she tells the story matter-of-factly, without judging her parents or whining about how mistreated she was. A really great book
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Great book - could not put it down. The writer lived through a whole lot of stuff that no one should have to live through growing up in America. The author and her siblings somehow "overcame" things that happened to them – where are the teachers, social workers, medical personnel, or church workers that should have helped these people - they are no where to be found in this book. Her voice tries to stay matter of fact but there is a lot of pain behind it. Not everything is OK and it is not good that some of the things that happened to the author are disguised as uncomfortable jokes when really it is just child abuse. Her new book made the cover of the NYT book review, which prompted me to read this book. The system failed in helping this family, the neighbors could hardly help themselves. People should read this book and reach out to make a difference in the quality of life of a child.
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Jeannette Walls, her brother, and sisters are children of parents whose interests include everything but parenting their children. Roles become reversed and it is the children who learn to fend for themselves and try to steer their parents in the direction of "responsible adult'. The fact that all four children made it to adulthood is remarkable. From the beginning paragraph describing a little girl burning herself at the stove cooking hot dogs, this memoir captivated me. While certainly the case for child abuse can be made here, what is interesting to me is that I did not get a sense of malicious intent to mistreat the children. Rather, in my opinion, the parents became frustrated with their family responsibilities while attempting to pursue their many endeavors which were far more interesting to them, for example, the mother's love of art and the father's interest in architecture. This is a powerful story that will offer the reader a wide range of emotions.
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The reason I like to read memoirs is that it shows me that my life growing up wasn't so bad after all. One of my favorite moments is when Jannette's dad asked her what she wanted for her bday. Jannette asked her dad to stop drinking. He gave it a shot by being tied down to his bed for a few days. He stayed sober for awhile but eventually went back to drinking. Awesome life story. I highly recommend it.
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An absolutely brilliant turn of events...a story of courage and charisma...makes you shake your head sadly in places, and laugh hysterically in others...one of the best books (fiction, memoir, et. al.) I've ever read!
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This story of Jeannette growing up amid poverty and squalor is quite a good read. Even though her family did not have money, the children are enriched through reading, at their mothers behest and their fathers ability ( when he was not drinking) to expose the children to theories and ideas that provided fodder for their critical thinking skills that would serve them (and save them) later in life.
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"Inauthentic" was all I kept thinking as I listened to Jeannette Walls prattle on about her nomadic childhood. All these "unique" experiences, and she managed to make them sound conventional, cardboard, and trite. I found that there were huge gaps between the experiences of the author and her professed naivety, and could not believe that, at least throughout high school, that these four children never fell into alcohol, drugs, or other pitfalls of unchaperoned children. Overall, it evoked no sympathy from me, mostly because I found I could not relate to the author. She's portrayed as having no intrinsic flaws, as never having done anything wrong, and therefore as practically inhuman. I want my protagonists to be able to express their humanity, especially in a memoir.
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Jeannette Walls's memoir revolves around her parents, who give the concept of bad parenting a whole new meaning. Her irresponsible romantic of a father was an inventor of outlandishly useless devices, and her mother, an artist, was his abettor. As the two of them dragged the family around the country on the run from creditors and from one bad idea to another, they virtually ignored their four hapless children, except when they were giving them shoplifting lessons or stealing their money for booze. Walls writes about these years with a hardheaded, clear-eyed acceptance and very little recrimination, and she doesn't neglect her parents' virtues, which she manages to wrest out of the slag heap: their values were both generous and idealistic, they produced self-reliant children, and they were true originals.
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The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is an excellent book. It is a memoir about the life of Jeannette Walls. Jeannette had a brother and two sisters. Her family was very poor and they moved around all the time. They usually lived in the southwest of the United States. But, after they have some financial issues that are worse than normal, they move to Welch, West Virginia where Jeannette’s father’s parents live. The story tells about how Jeannette Walls worked hard her entire life to get out of Welch and make her life better. This book was good because Jeannette Walls was able to describe her life really well. Her story was very interesting.
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An amazing book, I could not put it down. It is hard to believe that her story is true but the book is riveting.
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