The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle Study Guide

Jeannette Walls’ 2005 memoir The Glass Castle details the joys and struggles of her childhood. It offers a look into her life and that of her highly charismatic yet frequently dysfunctional family. Walls’ first memoir and second non-fiction work, The Glass Castle was received well by critics and the public.

The Glass Castle remained on the New York Times Bestseller’s List for 100 weeks and received The Christopher Award, the American Library Association’s Alex Award and the Books for Better Living Award. In only two years the book had sold over 1.5 million copies and had been translated into six other languages. Paramount Pictures purchased the rights to produce a film based on the memoir but the project has yet to conclude.

In an article for “Publisher’s Weekly” Walls wrote of her surprise that many thought her memoir was largely fictionalized and exaggerated. She contested the claims of some reviewers and readers, claiming that her work was based entirely on her memory. Truth, Walls says is “the most important goal of a memoir writer”. But she also writes that truth varies based on the person telling it, memories she has growing up are recounted different by her other family members, “my brother, my sisters and my mother have all said that while they felt my book was substantially true, any memoir they would have written would have been entirely different”.