The Glass Castle is a memoir written by Jeannette Walls, first published in 2005. The memoir recounts Walls’s  unconventional and often tumultuous childhood, growing up in a family that struggled with poverty, instability, and unconventional parenting. Walls’s parents, Rex and Rose Mary Walls, were charismatic but also deeply flawed, leading the family on a nomadic journey filled with hardships and challenges. The title of the memoir refers to Walls’s father’s dream of building a glass castle, a metaphor for his grand yet elusive aspirations.

The Glass Castle is situated in the latter part of the 20th century, capturing the social and cultural dynamics of the time. Walls’s narrative sheds light on issues of poverty and family dysfunction. The memoir explores themes of survival, forgiveness, and the impact of upbringing on one’s identity. Contemporary readers of The Glass Castle connect with its candid and introspective portrayal of a challenging childhood. Walls’s writing style and ability to convey the complexity of her family dynamics contribute to the memoir’s widespread acclaim. The book has been praised for its emotional depth and serves as a compelling exploration of the enduring effects of a troubled upbringing.

A 2017 film adaptation of The Glass Castle starred Brie Larson as Jeannette Walls and Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts as her parents, Rex and Rose Mary Walls.

Read the full book summary, an in-depth character analysis of Jeannette, and explanations of important quotes from The Glass Castle.

Upgrade to PLUS and get instant access to all the study tools

Upgrade to PLUS and get instant access to all the study tools