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Book Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Hey everyone!  I’ve been in the middle of some major life transitions lately, so I apologize if my blog has seemed automatic (it has been, I truthfully scheduled some posts in advance), or if I’ve seemed quiet comment-wise.  Over the next week, I’m hoping to pick up speed with blogging again, so if you aren’t hearing from me, give me a holler!




I recently got tired of listening to the same music over and over again at work and while on the road (I’ve been on the road a lot lately), so I headed over to my local library to peruse the audiobooks section.  Unfortunately most of them were classics or mass-book authors, but I did manage to find one that happened to also be on my wishlist, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.


This book is a memoir of Jeannette Walls’ life, primarily from her younger years until she reached adulthood.  It starts out explaining the terrible scars she got at the age of 3 due to cooking on the stove by herself, and takes you through all the trials and tribulations of her family life – living dirt poor with an alcoholic father, a mother who didn’t want to work, and three siblings.  Eventually they all end up in NYC, with Walls and most of her siblings leading much better lives in their adulthood.


Unfortunately that summary doesn’t even beginning to describe Walls’ life.  I listened to quite a bit of this book at work, and since it was just me and one coworker that shared my particular office at the time, I didn’t use earbuds.  Several times my male coworker turned to me and said some variation of, “Man, that’s ROUGH!”  There were, indeed, several parts to her story that had me in shock as I listened.


For those of us in the “middle” of the social ladder, it is hard for us to imagine being at the top.  Worse though, is the fact that so many of us look down on those at the bottom of that ladder.  Walls does an excellent job at really explaining the grit of being completely broke.  Yes, there really are people out there with too much pride to accept welfare, even if it means that their children have to suffer.

Speaking of, this memoir will definitely make you thankful for the upbringing you had.  I know childhood hunger is a rampant thing even in the U.S., and yet it is SO HARD to imagine.  Say you see a kindergarten class out on the playground together.  According to, one in every five of those children (in the US) you see is starving, and yet you probably would have a hard time knowing just by looking at them.  Not to mention the fact that poverty-stricken families are often not living in proper or healthy conditions either, as the Walls’ family definitely shows.


There’s probably more I could say about this memoir, but I often find it difficult to discuss (and give a rating to) memoirs because they are actual peoples’ lives.  This is definitely a good read if you want to gain some life perspective, but be prepared to hear about some rough living conditions and family situations.


The audiobook was of average quality; the narrator had a hard time with changing voices on a few occasions, but it wasn’t anything terrible.  I think you’d get about the same out of either reading or listening to this one.

3 out of 5

Do you have a hard time discussing and/or reviewing memoirs?



One response to “Book Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

  1. Pingback: April Book Round-up | Books Are My Thing

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