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147 Reviews
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book, Five stars :)
I started to read this book, and I just couldn't put it down. Jeannette Walls is one of those rare storytellers where you feel as if you are right there experiencing everything with her. It is an enthralling read, and the worst thing about it is how it draws you in so much that you want to do little else but sit there until you reach the very last page. I highly reccomend...
Published on Jan. 22 2007 by Laura

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The Glass Castle: A Memoir
I would not recommend this book, it is too depressing. I don't know how the children kept their spirits up for so long
Published 6 months ago by Pauline Siscoe


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book, Five stars :), Jan. 22 2007
By 
Laura (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Glass Castle (Paperback)
I started to read this book, and I just couldn't put it down. Jeannette Walls is one of those rare storytellers where you feel as if you are right there experiencing everything with her. It is an enthralling read, and the worst thing about it is how it draws you in so much that you want to do little else but sit there until you reach the very last page. I highly reccomend this novel!
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars People who live in certain houses . .., July 11 2007
By 
P.C. (Wallingford) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Glass Castle (Paperback)
Of the three incredibly entertaining and uplifting reads I've recently come across, THE GLASS CASTLE was by far the best. Second place goes to MIDDLESEX by Eugenides and third to BARK OF THE DOGWOOD. I enjoyed reading in GLASS CASTLE about the child's father, as a good man. He bought new bicycles for his children and took them to the zoo. He also developed a love of learning in his children. Wells writes very vividly about what it felt like sleeping in cardboard boxes, looking though trash cans and dumpsters for food and eating nothing but popcorn for many days. She also lived in a house with no electricity or indoor plumbing. She developed a sense of resourcefulness of being so poor. She made her own set of braces to straighten out of coat hangers and rubber bands. She also took a job at the age of 13 at a jewerly store to help make ends meet. Wells discovers a love of journalism in high school which became one of the turning points in her life. Her love of writing led to a career as a journalist in New York City. Jeannette Walls has worked hard to achieve the life she now has. The Glass Castle is a touching, inspirational, entertaining memoir of a courageous successful woman, but try it for yourself! Also highly recommended: MIDDLESEX by Eugenides and WHITE OLEANDER.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A plot so crazy you'd think it wasn't real!, Aug. 26 2007
By 
This review is from: The Glass Castle (Paperback)
This book will keep you suprised over and over again. Just when you think you've read all the crazy things Jeanette Walls throws in some more! A good little book that is great to remind oneself about what is and isn't important in one's life. Will get you thinkin'!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Glass Castle: a reflection of a reality, Feb. 27 2007
By 
Jennifer Cameron-Smith "Expect the Unexpected" (ACT, Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Glass Castle (Paperback)
A powerfully, and beautifully, written memoir which describes what is, strives for what could be but does not get lost in the chasm between.

It would be difficult to read this book and not to react to it strongly. A family which is, by most measures, dysfunctional: two chronological adults who need more parenting than their four biological offspring.

But this is not told as the 'shock, horror' story of appalling upbringing. It combines hope and courage with the fear of the unknown. And, ultimately the acceptance of what is.

'Just tell the truth' said Mom. 'That's simple enough.'

Highly recommended

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A top-notch memoir, Aug. 6 2007
This review is from: The Glass Castle (Paperback)
I have always enjoyed memoirs and have read several that were quite memorable, but "The Glass Castle" tops them all. I started the book in the afternoon and had it finished within a few hours because I simply could not put it down for any length of time. Besides having led an extraordinary life, Jeannette Walls has an impeccable way with words. She evoked frustration, shock, joy, and anger in me through recounting the often bizarre circumstances of her past, but she never evokes or encourages pity at any time throughout the book. I felt satisfied when I came to the end of "The Glass Castle", which doesn't happen very often and is a real treat. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to read, regardless of whether or not you enjoy memoirs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaves a lingering impression that hope can sustain us, Jan. 25 2012
By 
S Svendsen "Uni" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Glass Castle (Paperback)
Dysfunctional hardly describes Jeannette Wallis's family environment. The childhood and adolescence she describes must have readers repeatedly cringing and shaking their heads. But Walls knows how to lift up her narrative to overcome the gloom. Yes, even in the most bizarre, painful and hopeless situations she portrays ironically her parents' quirky attitudes about life in general and parental roles in particular. Most remarkable is her own incredible tenacity and resourcefulness to overcome her own and her siblings hardships time after time.

As unlikely as it sounds Wells has managed to write an entertaining memoir about children caught in a web of parental irresponsibility which includes physical violence, verbal abuse, addictions and starvation. The four children are often left to fend for themselves but stick together and devise plans and methods to survive. They have an unstable father whose pride, delusions of grandeur and alcoholic rages hijack his ability to function responsibly. However, his intellectual interests, zany humour and sporadic sense of paternal and spousal duty--and even love--provide sufficient positive influence to keep his family intact until the children devise ways to leave. They have a mother who abstains from alcohol but suffers from bipolar extremes of activity or lethargy, and of encouragement or melancholia. She is nonchalantly self-reliant but disorganized, failing to accept the reality of her and her children's predicament and her husband's deficiencies. She is compulsively creative, drawing and painting even in dire and chaotic circumstances.

Jeannette Walls demonstrates a unique ability to describe her life's afflictions tragicomically. This book is never boring. Readers will be left with a lingering impression that "hope can sustain us and lives eternally for those who have the fortitude to believe."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great insight into dysfunctional families, July 25 2011
By 
K. Koban (Fort McMurray, AB) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Glass Castle (Paperback)
I think this is a great book for many reasons. Firstly, the writing style is easy to read yet not simple or simplified. Jeannette Walls has a way of making her memories vivid without seeming sappy. She describes the alcoholism in her family so creatively and yet accurately, you really get an understanding of what it would be like to grow up in such a household. She also describes the descent into homlessness ( her parents) in such a way that you can really see how someone would end up so destitute. And she does a very excellent job of explaining how her parents chose to live the way they did, and the effects those choices had on their children. This book is also a great read because she does a fantastic job of showing the resilience of children, and how desperately they want to believe and trust and addictive parent. I think it's a fantastic book, although I was a bit disappointed in the abrupt ending.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your "Normal" Dysfunctional Family, Sept. 23 2007
By 
Teddy (Richmond, BC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Glass Castle: A Memoir (Audio CD)
Some people choose to be poor, that is the case of Jennette Wall's quirky parents. They brought up their children with very little parenting, going from one U.S. State to the other. They rarely provided food for the children. The children had to hunt for food in people's trash.

Ms. Wall told her story with much courage to fight her demons of her childhood. She wrote this story with memorable prose and thoughtfulness. However, I do wonder if she embellished it somewhat. It's a little too hard to believe that she remembered so many details from a very young age. Non the less, I did truly enjoy this book and recommend it to others.

Julia Gibson gave a fabulous performance narrating this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best memoir I have read in recent recollection, Dec 12 2013
By 
Rob Slaven "slavenrm@gmail. com" (Zionsville, IN) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Glass Castle (Paperback)
I came to this book because my fiancee recommended it to me a couple of years ago and I'm just now getting around to reading it. Suffice to say that when my fiancee recommends something you should not waste years getting around to it.

In a nutshell, this is one of the most powerful books I've read in half a century on the planet. Walls' story of her childhood is not only easy for me to relate to but it also makes me just downright angry. Her parents reeked of an abominable failure to be responsible and look out for their own children that just shakes me to my very core. While this is 300 pages of small type this is just the sort of book you could inhale at one passionate gulp sitting outside on a summers say. If you start reading you'll be lucky to escape before the last page.

Generally, I try to balance my reviews by describing both the positive and the negative of a novel but in this case I'm hard pressed. "The Glass Castle" could easily be described as a modern classic as it sums up with great vividness an all too common situation in the half-century. The free-thinking hippies cum parents who completely failed to give a damn about their own children are all too prolific and Walls describes her own beautifully. My only realistic negative results from the ending which seems clipped and far too succinct. I suppose in this format there's little choice in the matter but I could have anticipated another 300 pages or complete omission of the end.

In summary, this is by far the best memoir I have read in recent recollection. The author's view is candid and heartfelt but does not commit the sin of meandering into self-pity like many would in this situation. This title is a best seller with a heart and soul and a pointed comment to any parent who fails to recognize the needs of their own child. I cannot recommend this one enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, Jan. 23 2013
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This review is from: The Glass Castle (Paperback)
This book was wonderful ..an excellent read. I could not believe that people could live like that and survive, not only survive, but become such wondergful grown up people.....the ending was wonderful.
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The Glass Castle
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (Paperback - Jan. 17 2006)
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