This is a startling memoir of a successful journalist's journey from the deserted and dusty mining towns of the American Southwest, to an antique filled apartment on Park Avenue. Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents. At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings follow later. After pursuing the education and civilisation her parents sought to escape, Jeanette eventually succeeds in her quest for the 'mundane, middle class existence' she had always craved. In her apartment, overlooked by 'a portrait of someone else's ancestor' she recounts poignant remembered images of star watching with her father, juxtaposed with recollections of irregular meals, accidents and police-car chases and reveals her complex feelings of shame, guilt, pity and pride toward her parents.
Walls has carved a story with precision and grace out of one of the most chaotic, heart-breaking childhoods... This deeply affecting memoir is a triumph in every possible way, and it does what all good books should: it affirms our faith in the human spirit.' - Dani Shapiro
'Walls doesn't pull her punches. Walls's parents - just two of the unforgettable characters in this excellent, unusual book - were a matched pair of eccentrics. And raising four children didn't conventionalise either of them. [Walls has] a fantastic storytelling knack.' --Publishers Weekly
'Like JD Salinger or Hemingway before her, Jeannette Walls has the talent of knowing exactly how to let a story tell itself, crafted without self-pity or analysis or judgement' --Independent on Sunday
'A terrific story, grippingly told' --Sunday Times
'Funny and brilliantly written' --Evening Herald
'There isn't a shred of self-pity in this deeply compassionate book' --Marie Claire
'Just read the first pages of THE GLASS CASTLE by Jeannette Walls, and I defy you not to go on. It's funny, and sad, and quirky, and loving. I was incredibly touched by it.' --Dominick Dunne, author of The Way We Lived Then
Jeannette Walls lives in New York and on Long Island and is married to writer John Taylor. She is a regular contributor to MSNBC.com.