Join Amazon Prime and ship Two-Day for free and Overnight for $3.99. Already a member? Sign in.


Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
More Buying Choices

96 used & new from $7.04

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Tell a Friend
The Glass Castle: A Memoir
The Glass Castle: A Memoir (Paperback)
by Jeannette Walls "I WAS SITTING IN a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through..." (more)
Key Phrases: New York, Little Hobart Street, Battle Mountain (more...)
(388 customer reviews)    
List Price: $14.00
Price: $7.87 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details
You Save: $6.13 (44%)

Availability: In Stock. Ships from and sold by

Want it delivered Friday, November 17? Choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. See details

96 used & new available from $7.04
Also Available in: List Price: Our Price: Other Offers:
Order it used!
Hardcover $25.00 $16.50 105 used & new from $6.42

Best Value
Buy The Glass Castle: A Memoir and get Adios, Havana: A Memoir at an additional 5% off's everyday low price.
The Glass Castle: A Memoir Adios, Havana: A Memoir Buy Together Today: $22.07

Editorial Reviews
Jeannette Walls's father always called her "Mountain Goat" and there's perhaps no more apt nickname for a girl who navigated a sheer and towering cliff of childhood both daily and stoically. In The Glass Castle, Walls chronicles her upbringing at the hands of eccentric, nomadic parents--Rose Mary, her frustrated-artist mother, and Rex, her brilliant, alcoholic father. To call the elder Walls's childrearing style laissez faire would be putting it mildly. As Rose Mary and Rex, motivated by whims and paranoia, uprooted their kids time and again, the youngsters (Walls, her brother and two sisters) were left largely to their own devices. But while Rex and Rose Mary firmly believed children learned best from their own mistakes, they themselves never seemed to do so, repeating the same disastrous patterns that eventually landed them on the streets. Walls describes in fascinating detail what it was to be a child in this family, from the embarrassing (wearing shoes held together with safety pins; using markers to color her skin in an effort to camouflage holes in her pants) to the horrific (being told, after a creepy uncle pleasured himself in close proximity, that sexual assault is a crime of perception; and being pimped by her father at a bar). Though Walls has well earned the right to complain, at no point does she play the victim. In fact, Walls' removed, nonjudgmental stance is initially startling, since many of the circumstances she describes could be categorized as abusive (and unquestioningly neglectful). But on the contrary, Walls respects her parents' knack for making hardships feel like adventures, and her love for them--despite their overwhelming self-absorption--resonates from cover to cover. --Brangien Davis --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Freelance writer Walls doesn't pull her punches. She opens her memoir by describing looking out the window of her taxi, wondering if she's "overdressed for the evening" and spotting her mother on the sidewalk, "rooting through a Dumpster." 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 conventionalize either of them. Her father was a self-taught man, a would-be inventor who could stay longer at a poker table than at most jobs and had "a little bit of a drinking situation," as her mother put it. With a fantastic storytelling knack, Walls describes her artist mom's great gift for rationalizing. Apartment walls so thin they heard all their neighbors? What a bonus—they'd "pick up a little Spanish without even studying." Why feed their pets? They'd be helping them "by not allowing them to become dependent." While Walls's father's version of Christmas presents—walking each child into the Arizona desert at night and letting each one claim a star—was delightful, he wasn't so dear when he stole the kids' hard-earned savings to go on a bender. The Walls children learned to support themselves, eating out of trashcans at school or painting their skin so the holes in their pants didn't show. Buck-toothed Jeannette even tried making her own braces when she heard what orthodontia cost. One by one, each child escaped to New York City. Still, it wasn't long before their parents appeared on their doorsteps. "Why not?" Mom said. "Being homeless is an adventure."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

See all Editorial Reviews

Product Details

      Inside This Book (learn more)
      Browse and search another edition of this book.

      What do customers ultimately buy after viewing this item?
      88% buy the item featured on this page:
      The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls $7.87
      6% buy
      The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards $7.87
      2% buy
      Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel by Lisa See $7.83
      2% buy
      Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs $7.87
      2% buy
      Night (Oprah's Book Club) by Elie Wiesel $6.30

      Tag this product (What's this?)
      Your tags: Add your first tag

      Search Products Tagged with
      Customers tagged this product with
      First tag: wish list (A Reader on Nov 16, 2005)
      Last tag: memoir

      Are you the publisher or author? Learn how Amazon can help you make this book an eBook.
      If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can make it available as an eBook on Learn more.

      Rate this item to improve your recommendations

      Sign in to rate this item
         I own it

      Spotlight Reviews
      Write an online review and share your thoughts with other customers.
      Search Customer Reviews (What's this?)

      298 of 310 people found the following review helpful:

      WHAT A COURAGEOUS MEMOIR - - BRAVO!, February 27, 2005
      Reviewer: andy behrman (los angeles) - See all my reviews
      First, "The Glass Castle" is a real page turner - - I couldn't put it down and finished it in about four hours - - a record for me!

      It's probably the most thoughtful and sensitive memoir I can ever remember reading - - told with such grace, kindness and fabulous sense of humor.

      It's probably the best account ever written of a dysfunctional family -- and it must have taken Walls so much courage to put pen to paper and recount the details of her rather bizarre childhood - - which although it's like none other and is so dramatic - - any reader will relate to it. Readers will find bits and pieces of their own parents in Rex and Rose Mary Walls.

      Her journey across the country, ending up in a poor mining town in West Virginia and then finally in New York City, is a fascinating tale of survival.

      Her zest for life, even when eating margarine and sugar and bundled in a cardboard box with sweaters, coats and huddling with her pets, is unbelievably beautiful - - and motivating.

      If I could give a book ten stars, it would be "The Glass Castle."

       Comment | Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo (Report this)

      156 of 181 people found the following review helpful:

      Courage to move forward...., March 11, 2005
      Reviewer: MovedbyMusic "lishaz3" - See all my reviews
      (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
      Jeannette Walls is familiar as a face and voice for Her husband is writer John Taylor. Her parents were non conventional and non-conforming, and she was often left to take care for herself.

      Through the book I kept looking for bitterness or residual shame just as the author often had to rummage for food in a dumpster but she is so contented and the book is her memoir of thriving and letting go of negative feelings. Her parents, Rex and Rose Mary Walls and their four children had a bizarre existence, but Jeanette is testament to survival and functional achievement regardless of what type of spoon you're born with in your mouth. The spoon in her mouth may have been plastic but she turned her life into gold.

       Comment | Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo (Report this)

      Customer Reviews
      Average Customer Review:
      Write an online review and share your thoughts with other customers.

      The Glass Castle, November 14, 2006
      Reviewer: M. B. Wurtz (Las Vegas, NV USA) - See all my reviews
      (REAL NAME)   
      The Glass Castle is an outstanding example of life, giving courage to anyone who wants to succeed. Against all odds, Jeannette brought herself and her siblings out of a life of despair with hard work, dedication, and determination.
      Marty Wurtz
      Author of Deceptions and Betrayals

       Comment | Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo (Report this)

      1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

      I will keep this book in my collection, November 14, 2006
      Reviewer: Lori M. Messmer "Reading while being a Mom" (Pgh, PA) - See all my reviews
      (REAL NAME)   
      This is by far one of the BEST books I have ever read. From the moment I picked this book up I felt like I was there going through these time with her. I wished the book would of never ended. I have passed this along to so many people and they have also raved about it.
      A must read.

       Comment | Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo (Report this)

      1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

      A case study of poverty and neglect., November 13, 2006
      Reviewer: Rae (Cincinnati, Ohio) - See all my reviews
      Jeannette Walls memoir proves that courage and intelligence can overcome the effects of a severely dysfunctional upbringing.

       Comment | Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo (Report this)

      3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

      At the hands of eccentric parenting...., November 12, 2006
      Reviewer: Camille Yuasa (Washington) - See all my reviews
      I recently read an article about Jeannette Walls (the author)where she said she was a bit unsure whether or not to write this memoir. She wondered if anyone would want to read a story about someone else's childhood;one they could not relate to; a childhood so unusual, so appalling, that it would even make many who claim to be improverished, blush. Later, she learned that some people did see parallels between their childhoods and what Walls endured. Walls is undoubtedly a gifted writer who was able to tell her story in the most candid fashion without any implications of blame towards her parents. She has effectively articulated how deplorable her childhood had been; yet the reader is left with a sense that Walls and her siblings still held a deep love and devotion for their parents. Imagine surviving three days or more with absolutely nothing to eat except popcorn for yourself and your three siblings, all the while your dad is spending the family's last few dollars on booze;and the one thing that could alleviate alot of your suffering, your parents refuse to partake in (welfare benefits). One has to wonder if both her parents had undiagnosed mental illnesses. I believe you will cheer for Walls and her savvy survival skills, but you will silently cry for the absolute absurdity of it all!! Walls and her siblings successfully stopped what could've been a cycle of poverty through sheer determination, the will to live, and the intellect in which to do it all. I invite you to read this book; you will not want to put it down!!

       Comment | Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo (Report this)

      See all 388 customer reviews...

      Customer Discussions Beta (What's this?)
      New! Receive e-mail when new posts are made. Click the "Track it!" button on any discussion page.
      This product's forum (10 discussions)
        Discussions Replies Latest Post
      Thanking Ms. Walls 0 3 days ago
      inconsistent 24 10 days ago
      Courage to open up 0 26 days ago
      The Walls parents - questions for Jeannette 1 34 days ago
      How did they learn to fit in? 1 130 days ago
      reactions after the book was published? 0 149 days ago
      Questionable Facts 1 160 days ago
      The mother's paintings 0 176 days ago
      Homeless relative? 0 7 months ago
      Welcome to the The Glass Castle forum 8 8 months ago
      Start a new discussion
      First post:
      Receive e-mail when new posts are made
      (Prompts for sign-in)


      ProductWiki: Product Information from Our Customers (What's this?)
      Be the first person to add product information.

      Search Listmania!

      Look for related items by keyword

      Give a Gift, Get a Bonus
      Hundreds of magazine subscriptions include a $5 bonus for a limited time. Check out magazines like The New Yorker, Bookmarks, and Pages. The more you buy, the more you save. Give a subscription as a gift, get a $5 bonus for yourself!

      $10 Instant Rebate in Grocery
      Save $10 today when you spend $49 or more on any combination of products offered at Amazon Grocery, including food and household items. Here's how.

      Take up to $50 Off Home Improvement Products
      Save up to $50 on all tools, lawn equipment, and home improvement productsThrough November 30, use promotional code NOVTOOLS to get an extra $25 off $150 or $50 off $300 today on any products sold by in our Tools Store.

      If you need help or have a question for Customer Service, contact us.
      Would you like to update product info or give feedback on images? (We'll ask you to sign in so we can get back to you)
      Is there any other feedback you would like to provide?

      Your comments can help make our site better for everyone.

      Where's My Stuff?
      Shipping & Returns
      Need Help?

      Your Recent History
      Learn more
      Recently Viewed Categories

      Recent Searches

      The Glass Castle
      Customers with similar searches also bought:
      The Glass Castle: A Memoir
      The Glass Castle: A Memoir
      by Jeannette Walls
      The Glass Castle: A Memoir (Alex Awards (Awards))
      The Glass Castle: A Memoir (Alex Awards (Awards))
      by Jeannette Walls
      View & edit Your Browsing History
      Conditions of Use | Privacy Notice © 1996-2006,, Inc. or its affiliates