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The Glass Castle: A Memoir

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Jeannette Walls

Narrated By: Jeannette Walls

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: September 2010

Duration: 10 hours 28 minutes


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, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.


  • Anonymous

    I love this book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Rudy B

    Love everything about it.. couldn't stop reading it!!!! Gratitude and appreciation of what I have...and I don't have...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Loved, Loved it. It gives a whole new perspective to the saying "glass half full". I was intrigued and looked forward to listening to it every day. Good ending as well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Sue N

    Loved this book and hated to have it end. It's hard to imagine how difficult life must have been for these four kids and yet it's a well told account of a soul that triumphed against adversity. Jeanette Walls sounds like an amazing woman.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Robyn K.

    I really enjoyed this book.

  • Lupe C.

    Someone recommended this book who absolutely loved it and after reading the reviews I was excited to Listen to this book.. for me it was more frustrating and the ending was very disappointing. For some people this book might be shocking but for me I know people who live this way. I can't really say that the book was bad it's just not interesting enough for me. The narrator didn't bother me she actually sounds just like one of my friends so I pictured her reading it to me.

  • Aysha-Rae B.

    I loved reading this book, but hearing it from Jeanette give its another side to hear from.

  • Kylin F.

    I REALLY want to like this book because of the movie (which I didn't see but love the cast) and how popular this book is however I can't get past the narrator. Which is unfortunate because she's the author. It also drags for me. It started wonderfully because it was current day and then went into the past however the past portion has been so long for me and its been hard to keep my attention. I'm not giving up though and hoping it ends with a bang!

  • erin j

    Good book. Went through so many emotions!!!

  • Marie G

    Excellent story and true. Amazing kids who made the best of their lives and worked to try to make things better. Certainly a tale of what can happen when bad choices are made over and over. The kids were more mature than their free spirit parents. A good read - hard to put down. I also liked the narration.