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The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle

Author(s): Jeannette Walls

Location(s): New York City (NYC), West Virginia

Genre(s): Autobiography/Memoirs

Era(s): Second half of the 20th Century

Location

Content

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.

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Lead Review

‘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...

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