Jeannette Walls—Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Critics have called Jeannette Walls’ memoir, The Glass Castle, “spectacular,” “extraordinary,” “incredible,” and “riveting.” A New York Times best-seller for more than four years, it has sold 3.5 million copies in the U.S. alone, has been translated into 22 languages, and is being made into a movie by Paramount. It was named one of the “Top 10 Books of the Decade” by Amazon, and has won numerous awards including the Christopher Award, the American Library Association’s Alex Award, and the Books for Better Living Award.
In The Glass Castle, Walls describes growing up in the American Southwest desert and then in a West Virginia mining town with her three siblings and the brilliant, unorthodox, irresponsible parents who manage at once to neglect them, love them, and teach them to face their fears.
The story is at times both harrowing and hilarious as the children go without food and indoor plumbing yet are encouraged to read Shakespeare and dream of the beautiful glass house they will all one day build. Despite all her hardships, Walls develops the determination to leave West Virginia at the age of sixteen, move to New York City, enroll in Barnard College and eventually become a well-known columnist for New York magazine and MSNBC.com, and a television personality.
Rosie O’Donnell called The Glass Castle “a beautiful, brave, transformative book….The best book I’ve read in years.” And the Atlanta Constitution said, “Charles Dickens has nothing on Jeannette Walls…Dickens’s scenes of poverty and hardship are no more audacious and no more provocative than those in the pages of this stunning memoir.”
Walls lives in the Virginia piedmont with her husband, the writer John Taylor. She has appeared on Prime Time Live, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, Oprah, and the Diane Rheem Show.
Her follow-up to The Glass Castle, Half Broke Horses: A True Life Novel, was released in October 2009, and was an immediate New York Times best-seller. Independent Book Sellers has named it one of their monthly “Best Read” selections and the book was called “essential reading” by Library Journal.