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The Glass Castle

Jeannette Walls

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Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction

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

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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Jeannette Walls

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.

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