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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.

  • 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.

  • Paula F

    I did not like the narration of the book at all which made it hard for me to like the book. Good story line but again.. it was hard for me to want to finish the story.

  • Sharon H

    I think this Audiobook will appeal to many of my friends. A true story, the narrator and writer has definitely lived a difficult youth, but one filled with everything that really makes the adult exceptionally. Very inspiring.

  • Anna L

    It was easy to speed through this book. Jeanette Walls' story is both fun and brutally sad. The way she writes about her father is especially moving. Good narration too.

  • Patricia M

    This was very insightful as to how many children in America live. Poverty and hunger exists in America, no need to always go elsewhere to help. The sad part is help existed for these hungry children, but, their parents would not accepet it. This was one of the best books I have read/listened to.