Jeannette Walls The Glass Castle

ISBN 13 : 9781844081820

The Glass Castle

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9781844081820: The Glass Castle
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Chapter 1: A Woman on the Street

I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster. It was just after dark. A blustery March wind whipped the steam coming out of the manholes, and people hurried along the sidewalks with their collars turned up. I was stuck in traffic two blocks from the party where I was heading.

Mom stood fifteen feet away. She had tied rags around her shoulders to keep out the spring chill and was picking through the trash while her dog, a black-and-white terrier mix, played at her feet. Mom's gestures were all familiar -- the way she tilted her head and thrust out her lower lip when studying items of potential value that she'd hoisted out of the Dumpster, the way her eyes widened with childish glee when she found something she liked. Her long hair was streaked with gray, tangled and matted, and her eyes had sunk deep into their sockets, but still she reminded me of the mom she'd been when I was a kid, swan-diving off cliffs and painting in the desert and reading Shakespeare aloud. Her cheekbones were still high and strong, but the skin was parched and ruddy from all those winters and summers exposed to the elements. To the people walking by, she probably looked like any of the thousands of homeless people in New York City.

It had been months since I laid eyes on Mom, and when she looked up, I was overcome with panic that she'd see me and call out my name, and that someone on the way to the same party would spot us together and Mom would introduce herself and my secret would be out.

I slid down in the seat and asked the driver to turn around and take me home to Park Avenue.

The taxi pulled up in front of my building, the doorman held the door for me, and the elevator man took me up to my floor. My husband was working late, as he did most nights, and the apartment was silent except for the click of my heels on the polished wood floor. I was still rattled from seeing Mom, the unexpectedness of coming across her, the sight of her rooting happily through the Dumpster. I put some Vivaldi on, hoping the music would settle me down.

I looked around the room. There were the turn-of-the-century bronze-and-silver vases and the old books with worn leather spines that I'd collected at flea markets. There were the Georgian maps I'd had framed, the Persian rugs, and the overstuffed leather armchair I liked to sink into at the end of the day. I'd tried to make a home for myself here, tried to turn the apartment into the sort of place where the person I wanted to be would live. But I could never enjoy the room without worrying about Mom and Dad huddled on a sidewalk grate somewhere. I fretted about them, but I was embarrassed by them, too, and ashamed of myself for wearing pearls and living on Park Avenue while my parents were busy keeping warm and finding something to eat.

What could I do? I'd tried to help them countless times, but Dad would insist they didn't need anything, and Mom would ask for something silly, like a perfume atomizer or a membership in a health club. They said that they were living the way they wanted to.

After ducking down in the taxi so Mom wouldn't see me, I hated myself -- hated my antiques, my clothes, and my apartment. I had to do something, so I called a friend of Mom's and left a message. It was our system of staying in touch. It always took Mom a few days to get back to me, but when I heard from her, she sounded, as always, cheerful and casual, as though we'd had lunch the day before. I told her I wanted to see her and suggested she drop by the apartment, but she wanted to go to a restaurant. She loved eating out, so we agreed to meet for lunch at her favorite Chinese restaurant.

Mom was sitting at a booth, studying the menu, when I arrived. She'd made an effort to fix herself up. She wore a bulky gray sweater with only a few light stains, and black leather men's shoes. She'd washed her face, but her neck and temples were still dark with grime.

She waved enthusiastically when she saw me. "It's my baby girl!" she called out. I kissed her cheek. Mom had dumped all the plastic packets of soy sauce and duck sauce and hot-and-spicy mustard from the table into her purse. Now she emptied a wooden bowl of dried noodles into it as well. "A little snack for later on," she explained.

We ordered. Mom chose the Seafood Delight. "You know how I love my seafood," she said.

She started talking about Picasso. She'd seen a retrospective of his work and decided he was hugely overrated. All the cubist stuff was gimmicky, as far as she was concerned. He hadn't really done anything worthwhile after his Rose Period.

"I'm worried about you," I said. "Tell me what I can do to help."

Her smile faded. "What makes you think I need your help?"

"I'm not rich," I said. "But I have some money. Tell me what it is you need."

She thought for a moment. "I could use an electrolysis treatment."

"Be serious."

"I am serious. If a woman looks good, she feels good."

"Come on, Mom." I felt my shoulders tightening up, the way they invariably did during these conversations. "I'm talking about something that could help you change your life, make it better."

"You want to help me change my life?" Mom asked. "I'm fine. You're the one who needs help. Your values are all confused."

"Mom, I saw you picking through trash in the East Village a few days ago."

"Well, people in this country are too wasteful. It's my way of recycling." She took a bite of her Seafood Delight. "Why didn't you say hello?"

"I was too ashamed, Mom. I hid."

Mom pointed her chopsticks at me. "You see?" she said. "Right there. That's exactly what I'm saying. You're way too easily embarrassed. Your father and I are who we are. Accept it."

"And what am I supposed to tell people about my parents?"

"Just tell the truth," Mom said. "That's simple enough."

Copyright © 2005 by Jeannette Walls

Présentation de l'éditeur :

A triumphant tale of a young woman and her difficult childhood, The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of
resilience, redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and wonderfully vibrant. Jeannette Walls was the second of four children raised by anti-institutional parents in a household of extremes.

Their father, Rex Walls, was a charismatic and brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he would steal the grocery money and disappear for days, disappointing Jeannette, his biggest supporter, again and again. Their mother, a painter, a writer, a free-spirit who couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." She loved being on the brink of a new adventure and Rex Walls was always embarking on new ones, usually because he had to--because the rent was unpaid or he'd broken the law. And Jeannette and her brother and sisters were always taking on the household responsibilities, finding food, cleaning house, encouraging their parents to work, protecting one another and finally supporting each other as they moved out of their parents dysfunctional lives and finished their educations in New York. Their parents followed them to the city, eventually becoming homeless, even as their children prospered.

From the desert to San Francisco, from Las Vegas to a mining town in Appalachia, Rex and Mary Walls led their family on a nomadic journey- running from the police, escaping fires, ferreting food out of dumpsters. It was a childhood full of exciting adventures, dangerous accidents, heartbreaking betrayals and the intense love of a peculiar family that despite all of its many flaws gave Jeannette the fiery determination to carve out a successful
life.

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Jeannette Walls
Edité par Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom (2006)
ISBN 10 : 1844081826 ISBN 13 : 9781844081820
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Description du livre Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom, 2006. Paperback. État : New. 196 x 126 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. N° de réf. du libraire AA29781844081820

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Jeannette Walls
Edité par Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom (2006)
ISBN 10 : 1844081826 ISBN 13 : 9781844081820
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Description du livre Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom, 2006. Paperback. État : New. 196 x 126 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. N° de réf. du libraire AA29781844081820

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Description du livre Virago, 2006. État : New. 2006. Paperback. 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 Num Pages: 352 pages. BIC Classification: BGB; KNTJ. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 128 x 25. Weight in Grams: 268. . . . . . . N° de réf. du libraire V9781844081820

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Description du livre Little, Brown Book Group. Paperback. État : new. BRAND NEW, The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls, 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. N° de réf. du libraire B9781844081820

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Description du livre Virago. État : New. 2006. Paperback. 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 Num Pages: 352 pages. BIC Classification: BGB; KNTJ. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 128 x 25. Weight in Grams: 268. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. N° de réf. du libraire V9781844081820

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