The Glass Castle

Jeannette Walls

About the author...

Jeannette Walls is an American writer and journalist who is widely know as a gossip columnist for She wrote The Glass Castle (a memoir) which was based on the joys and struggles of her childhood.
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Main Characters...

Jeannette Walls: the narrator and main character of the story. She is a round, dynamic character, and the memoir focuses on her development and maturity. She is Rex Wall's favorite daughter because of her forgiving nature.
Rex Walls: He is the father of Jeannette, Lori, Maureen and Brian. He is a very smart man but is an alcoholic which causes a downfall in the family.
Rose Mary Walls: the mother of Jeannette, Lori, Maureen and Brian. She is a free spirit and an unsuccessful artist who favors her art over her children.
Brian Walls: the younger bother to Lori and Jeannette and older brother to Maureen. He has a very close relationship with both Lori and Jeannette.
Lori Walls: the oldest child out of four children. She comes up with the plan to move to New York City to escape her parents and eventually succeeds.
Maureen Walls: she is the youngest of all the siblings and is very distant from the family. She is beautiful but not self-sufficient and is perhaps the most "normal" one of the family.
The Glass Castle is a beautifuly writen memoir that looks at a dysfunctional and unique family. The Walls children learned how to take care of themselves with a drunken yet brilliant father and an irresponsible mother. They protected one another and eventually flee their mother and father when they moved to New York to follow their dreams of living a normal life. Will the Walls children prosper? Find out by reading The Glass Castle.

Short Passage...

After dinner the whole family stretched out on the benches and the floor of the depot and read, with the dictionary in the middle of the room so we kids could look up words we didn't know...Occasionally, on those nights when we were all reading together, a train would thunder by, shaking the house and rattling the windows. The noise was thunderous, but after we'd been there a while, we didn't even hear it.

(Walls 56-57)

This scene shows one of the few peaceful, bonding moments shared between the Walls family. The importance of this scene important in two ways. Firstly, it discredits stereotypes about the homeless being uneducated or dumb and shows that even those without money can be educated. Secondly, it shows how Jeannette becomes influenced at a young age by literature and is a possible explanation for her later interest in journalism. It is the parents' literary interest that ultimately saves the children, by giving them the education that allows them to escape their parents' life.

Readers will be amazed with the intelligence and resilience of the Walls kids. This is a good read for an individual who enjoys learning about the struggles of lower/working class American families or readers who can relate to the Walls' situations.

I really enjoyed The Glass Castle! I thought it was very interesting to learn about things I can not relate to. This book made me very emotional at times but also made me laugh because of her writting style and the things she and her family members say/do. I am really glad I chose this book and would love to read it again.

Jeannette Walls...