When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. The Glass Castle is truly astonishing—a beloved memoir that has lived on the bestseller list for more than seven years.
The movie The Glass Castle was released August 11, 2017. Depicting Walls's real-life childhood spent squatting in homes and living in poverty, the film stars Brie Larson as Walls with Naomi Watts, Woody Harrelson, Max Greenfield, and Sarah Snook in supporting roles.
If you want more unusual memoirs, check out the suggestions below.
For the inimitable Lee Smith, a place is paramount. For forty-five years, her fiction has lived and breathed with the rhythms and people of the Appalachian South. But never before has she written her own story.
Gloria Norris's KooKooLand is a memoir written on the edge of a knife blade. Chilling, intensely moving, and darkly funny, it cuts to the heart and soul of a troubled American family and announces the arrival of a startlingly original voice.
A woman born without legs describes her life growing up as one of eleven children in a large Catholic family, wearing prosthetics, going to school, facing bullies, and searching for love and happiness.
Sifting through old boxes and drawers upon her mother's death, Anya Yurchyshyn discovered artifacts of a life, a love affair, and glamorous people that she barely recognized - yet, these people were her parents. Letters, photos of exotic locales, startling documents, and passionate letters revealed stark evidence of a hidden past that forced her to reconstruct and reimagine everything she'd ever known about her life and her family. This is the account of one woman's relentless quest to solve the tragic and complex mysteries of her past.
Gypsies, faith-healers, moonshiners, and snake handlers weave through Drema's childhood in 1940s Appalachia after her father is killed in the coal mines, her mother goes off to work as a Rosie the Riveter, and she is left in the care of devout Pentecostal grandparents. What follows is a spitfire of a memoir that reads like a novel with intrigue, sweeping emotion, and indisputable charm.
From earliest experimentation to habitual excess to full-blown abuse, twenty-four-year-old Koren Zailckas leads us through her experience of a terrifying trend among young girls, exploring how binge drinking becomes routine, how it becomes "the usual." Smashed is an eye-opening, wise, and utterly gripping achievement.