The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

12 Dec


Walls, Jeanette. The Glass Castle. Scribner, 2005. 288 pages. ISBN 978-1-43915-696-4

Plot Summary:

Jeanette tells us what life for her was life from the day she was born, until she moved away to New York City, where she now has a much better life in comparison to her parents, whom she offered money but was told her to get her priorities in order. So, when Jeannette was three years old she lit herself on fire while cooking some hotdogs, and ended up in the hospital for six weeks and it was almost nice because of the nice things she got. However, her father ends up stealing her out of the hospital so that he did not have to pay the bill. She developed a fascination for fire and ended up lighting a lot of things on fire. Her father, Rex, would wake the family up in the middle of the night and tell them they were leaving, it would be an adventure. This happened several times. Rex once told Jeanette where he was born and how he met her mother. They had four kids, but the youngest Rex found dead in her crib, and that’s when his drinking habit started. Constantly on the run from the authorities, Jeanette and her family had one hell of a life growing up.

Critical Evaluation:

This is a touching memoir of the life of Jeanette Walls when she was just a little girl growing up with her dysfunctional family. Autobiographies, or just biographies, are also a great way to lose one’s self in somebody else’s hard times. I know this is a terrible thing to say, but it is always nice to know that you are not alone in this world with your troubles; there are others out there that are dealing with difficult times just like you, perhaps even more so. Jeanette Walls was a tough little girl, she endured the strife, pain and misfortunes that life brought her and she pulled through it in the end and is now living a much happier life. Walls does not beat around the bush. She says what is on her mind and puts it out there for others to understand what she was going through. This is a great read that I highly recommend to young adults.

Reader’s Annotation:

On the run, moving from place to place, trying to survive. This is the life of Jeanette Walls.


Jeanette Walls was born on April 21, 1960 in Phoenix, Arizona. Her father was Rex Walls  and he died in 1994. He was an electrician. Her mother is Rose Mary Walls, who is an artist. As described in The Glass Castle, Walls’ family life was rootless. They traveled from Phoenix, Arizona, California, Battle Mountain, Nevada, and Welch, West Virginia, with periods of homelessness. Walls moved to New York at the age of 17 and graduated in 1984 with honors from Barnard College. Walls is one of four children; she has two sisters and one brother.

Walls married Eric Goldberg in 1988  and they divorced in 1996. She now lives outside Culpeper, Virginia, with her second husband, a journalist named John J. Taylor. He was a former writer for Esquire and the author of The Count and the Confession: A True Murder Mystery, Falling: The Story of One Marriage, and Circus of Ambition: The Culture of Wealth and Power in the Eighties.



Curriculum Ties:


Booktalking Ideas:

There was never a dull moment for Jeanette.

Reading Level/Interest Level:


Challenge Issues:


Why I included this book:

I chose this book because I saw it on the nonfiction presentation and thought it seems interesting.

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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in LIBR 265-10 Database Project/Blog


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