Glass Castle Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Glass Castle

When this autobiography opens, Jeannette Walls is all grown up, a successful writer who lives with her husband in a fancy apartment on Park Avenue in New York City. One night she's in a taxi on her way to a party when, looking out the window, she sights her mother, diving into a garbage can.
Click here to see the rest of this review

Walls and her two sisters and a brother had a hard childhood. This book mostly tells the story of their childhood.

When the children are very young, the family lives in the Southwest. They're constantly on the move from town to town, as their parents get fed up with what always see as the constraints of society or get in trouble with a landlord or the law. At one point, their mother, Rose Mary, does do some teaching. (What she always prefers to do is paint.) And their father, a wouldbe inventor, sometimes gets a job as an electrician. But he's an alcoholic who time after time will drink up his paycheck.

For a time, the family's happy, living in an old railroad depot in Batttle Mountain, Nevada, even though they don't have much and they go hungry from time to time. But when their parents really seem to start to fall apart, they move to the tiny decaying mining town of Welch, West Virginia. From this point, their poverty will be absolute. Many days all the children have to eat is school lunches. They're lucky to have a second dress to change into. After some time living with their incredibly abusive grandmother, the family moves into a shack which doesn't have running water or heat.

At times, I found this book incredibly hard to read, perhaps because my own family has sometimes been close to desperately poor.   But in the long run I read the entire thing and have recommended it over and over again to other people. Jeannette and her brothers do in fact get themselves out of their terrible situation. Her big sister will be the first to escape their parents. Slowly, the rest of the children will also go to live with her. When Jeannette goes to live with Lori in New York City, she does so well in high school that she gets into Barnard College.
The review of this Book prepared by Ann Gaines

Chapter Analysis of Glass Castle

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Kids:    -   general coming of age story Job/profession/poverty story    -   Yes Kind of living:    -   general poverty story Period of greatest activity?    -   1950+

Subject of Biography

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   writer Ethnicity    -   White Nationality    -   American


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   7 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Southeast    -   West Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   dumb Rednecks, like Gomer Pyle Century:    -   1960's-1970's

Writing Style

Book makes you feel?    -   in awe    -   like laughing Graphic sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   rape/molest Pictures/Illustrations?    -   None How much dialogue in bio?    -   significantly more descript than dialog How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?    -   0-25% of book

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Glass Castle

Jeannette Walls Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian