Non-Fiction Selection: The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Wells

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls

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.

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  • June

    It was nice meeting all new members. Hope to see you all again.

    October 6, 2013

  • Donna E.

    Great group...excellent discussion. Interesting read.

    October 6, 2013

  • Abi

    Sadly, I need to lesson plan like crazy tonight. I am bummed to miss the discussion of this thought provoking book!

    October 6, 2013

  • Juel Yoder R.

    I have actually read this book!

    September 16, 2013

    • June

      Super. I'm sure it will be a good discussion.

      September 16, 2013

  • Jeanne I.

    Sorry to miss the discussion. I will be in Italy! I've read this book and discussed it in another book club and it is very thought-provoking. Have a great conversation.

    August 20, 2013

  • June

    Fast read. Very thought provoking.

    August 3, 2013

10 went

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