Jeannette Walls is a writer and journalist. She was born in Phoenix, Arizona and graduated with honors from Barnard College, Columbia University's Women's College. A bestselling memoir, The Glass Castle, was published in 2005. The book was adapted to a movie and released in August 2017 to theaters....READ MORE
Mom became even more concerned about my values when my editor offered me a job writing a weekly column about what he called the behind-the-scenes doings of the movers and shakers. Mom thought I should be writing exposes about oppressive landlords, social injustice, and the class struggle on the Lower East Side. But I leaped at the job, because it meant I would become one of those people who knew what was really going on. Also, most people in Welch had a pretty good idea how bad off the Walls family was, but the truth was, they all had their problems, too--they were just better than we were at covering them up. I wanted to let the world know that no one had a perfect life, that even the people who seemed to have it all had their secrets.
I wondered if the fire had been out to get me. I wondered if all fire was related, like Dad said all humans were related, if the fire that had burned me that day while I cooked hot dogs was somehow connected o the fire I had flushed down the toilet and the fire burning at the hotel. I didn't have the answers to those questions, but what I did know was that I lived in a world that at any moment could erupt into fire. It was the sort of knowledge that kept you on your toes.
Mom told us we would have to go shoplifting. Isn't that a sin?" I asked Mom. Not exactly," Mom said. "God doesn't mind you bending the rules a little if you have a good reason. It's sort of like justifiable homicide. This is justifiable pilfering.
One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. "You'd be destroying what makes it special," she said. "It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty.