The Glass Castle

Happy Friday!

Today is going to be a good day for the Fagan family because we will officially be reunited with this crazy lady…

sadie and julie

vizsla with ball

I miss my puppy so, so much. During these past two weeks when we’ve been away from her, I honestly haven’t been able to talk about her too much because I get this feeling of longing in the pit of my stomach.

I can’t wait until she tackles me to the floor at my parents’ house and gives me “nibble kisses.” When Sadie is really excited, she licks your face non-stop and nibbles you a little bit because she can’t control herself.

Nibble kisses are my favorite. Smile 


Let’s fly through breakfast because it’s the same ol’ thang from the hotel buffet.

eggs and bacon 002

Eggs, toast with jelly, breakfast potatoes and some Raisin Bran to munch on while I blog.

eggs and bacon 004

The belly is full. Smile

Now for the fun stuff!

PBF Book Club

I am so excited that you guys are interested in a PBF book club!

Once I finish reading The Kite Runner, I’ll post a little survey on the blog with three different books for you guys to vote on to select the book we’ll read to kick off the club. And just to clear things up, you definitely don’t need to be a blogger to participate in the book club and if you read the book a long time ago, you’re still more than welcome to participate in the discussion. Stay tuned!

On that note, it’s time for another PBF book review!

The Glass Castle

If I had to use one word to describe this book it would be “struggle.” The first half of this book was a struggle to get through the second half made me struggle with my emotions.

The Glass Castle is a memoir, written by the extremely talented Jeannette Walls. The book details her life growing up in a family that moved around a lot, or “did the skedaddle” as her dad would say. They moved all across the United States, packing up whenever her parents got into financial trouble, craved a new adventure or left to evade the law.

the glass castle

Her parents are non-conformists (to put it lightly). Though they clearly love and adore their children, her father is a drunk while her mother is an artist (though no one buys her work) and an “excitement addict” that feels confined by regular work. At times it’s hard to believe they’re real people because as “characters” in a book, they seem so eccentric.

While your heart breaks for the conditions the Walls children are forced to live in because of their parents, your heart fills up again at the displays of genuine love in the book and the moments of tenderness between the family.

I must admit, I almost quit reading this book in the beginning. The first 80 pages failed to intrigue me. Sure I was amused, but I didn’t long to sit on the couch, curled up with this book, reading for hours on end… until I reached the second half of the book.

Once the author enters her teens and her family moves from Phoenix to a poor town in West Virginia, the book really turned around for me. I found myself emotionally engaged.

I was so incredibly frustrated and angered by the author’s parents and so incredibly moved by the undying love between the siblings in the book. They were truly good people who looked out for each other, despite their unconventional upbringing. 

As I closed this book after I read the final page, I realized that this book is more than just a book. It is a lesson. A lesson in appreciation, determination and limitless love.

Past PBF Book Reviews:


  1. says

    I’d be psyched for a PBF book club! To save some money before getting a library card, I’d use Amazon. Books are about half as much as the store and if you order over $25, free shipping! I’ve been buying 3-4 at a time off there so I have the next one the minute I’m done reading 🙂


  2. Dawn @ Blonde on a Mission says

    I love the nibble kisses & being tackled by excited dogs! 😀 I was really emotional being away from my dogs for 3 months while doing an internship. I’m so happy you get to see your little girl finally! Can’t wait until you’re all back together & we get to see her crazy shenanigans daily!


  3. Brooke says

    You have to read the prequil to The Glass Castle. It’s called Half Broke Horses. It’s about her Moms upbringing with her grandma. Kind of explains why her mom was the way she was. Great book!


  4. says

    Though I can’t touch on the Glass Castle as I’ve never heard of it before you read/discussed it, I can speak, rather expertly, on nibble kisses.

    They are the very best of all kisses one can get from a dog, and, when translated, say “I love you so much I could just eat you up… quite literally.”


  5. Janneke says

    LOVE nibble kisses! My dog is also currently at my parents house and whenever I am able to see her, she showers me in them!!!


  6. says

    Awww I love puppy kisses! I love when I get to see my family dog. I miss being greeted with kisses from him when I would come home everyday.

    A book club sounds awesome! I need to get my butt in gear and start reading again! I miss it!


  7. says

    Julie!<3 I'm so glad that you stuck with the Glass Castle through to the end. I knew that it would grow on you eventually. When i read it, I wanted to stop, but my mama forced me to keep reading haha.

    Have you ever read Secret Life of Bees? It's an AMAZING book and movie. It's similar to the help in the fact that it's set in southern US while struggling with segregation. It's also the kind of book that will have you laughing one minute and then hysterically crying the next. It definitely needs to be on you "MUST READ" list =).


  8. Ashley@foodfitnessfun says

    I think a PBF book club is a great idea! I need extra motivation to get into some reading too, so this would be great!


  9. Morgan @ Some Kind of Sunshine says

    My dog does “nibble kisses” too! Typically, they are on my ear. I love it!

    If you liked the Glass Castle, you should read “Room” by Emma Donahgue. SO intriguing.


  10. Karina Vargas says

    I had to put my 11 year old chocolate lab down this week :(( Don’t take any moment with Sadie for granted!!!! I will live vicariously through you and your sweet vizsla!! 🙂


  11. Katie says

    I LOVED The Art of Racing in the Rain! I was sobbing at the end.

    I’m reading an amazing book right now called Unbroken. World War 2 pilot who survives A LOT and it’s amazing. I cannot put it down at night and read it until my eyes literally can’t stay open any longer.


  12. sue says

    I think you summed up Glass Castles perfectly. I think if this weren’t a true story, most people would find it too bizarre to be believable.

    Looking forward to the book club.


  13. says

    Yay for your day! I bet your super excited to see Sadie!
    I’ve tried memoirs in the past but always seem to struggle with them, or really any non-fiction for that matter. I’m definitely a fiction/fantasy gal.


  14. says

    Sounds like an interesting book. I have SO many on my list right what’s one more? ha! Have a great Friday Julie and I hope you get tons of nibble kisses!


  15. says

    I am really glad to read your review of this book. I started about a month ago, and stopped it in place of another book because I just couldn’t get into it. The first 50 pages or so I read just seemed to be the same type of stories over and over. Glad to hear you say it picks up. I think I’ll give it another shot.


  16. says

    I LOVED this book! It’s on the list of books I ALWAYS recommend to people! I *just* bought her new book which is a memoir of her grandmother and they describe it as “Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults” It’s called “Half Broke Horses’!
    I seriously think I finished The Glass Castle in less than 2 days! I thought it was fantastic. Such a different side of life than we live.

    Other books kind of like The Glass Castle are “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn” think drunk dad, hardworking mom trying to make it in NY in the early 1900s, AND “Angela’s Ashes” which is about a family coming to NY and then having to go back to Ireland and their struggle to raise a TON of kids, while once again, the dad is a drunk and the kids and mom try to pick up the slack.

    Enjoy reading Kite Runner! 😀


  17. LG says

    The Glass Castle is one of my favorite books, and that’s because I grew up in a family that was similarly messed up. (Not SO bad as Jeannette’s, but still.) I found this book to be so powerful and validating and I kept thinking to myself “me too”!!!When I’m with my family members who are constantly demeaning each other, hoarding, overcooking everything to death, sleeping in until noon, letting the dog pee on the floor, conspiracy therorizing, and criticizing everyone, I wonder how on earth I became a “normal” human being. I think it’s because I became a Christian at 13 and the wonderful men and women at my church really took me under their wing and showed me wisdom. I thank God for his grace and help(!!!), and though I still love my family, it’s really hard to be with them for more than a few days. I know my folks each had quite rough childhoods too, so that’s a factor, but it made for a tough upbringing for me. It’s sad but hopefully when I have kids it will happily different. My marriage is wonderful and so much fun so the buck has already stopped here. Anyway, that’s why the book was so powerful to me – you CAN be a productive member of society even when you grow up with a messed-up family. :0)


    • says

      LOVE this comment. i actally watched like 3 interviews that jeannette did on my computer when i finished the book because i found her so intriguing and she said a LOT of people told her all about their childhood and how her book was something they use as inspiration and her stories made them feel less “alone.” very interesting!


  18. LG says

    PS one more thing…it was amazing to look at the Amazon reviews for this book; some neighbors of Jeannette’s in Virginia commented and said that they had no idea things were that bad and that they would have intervened if they knew. Yipes!


  19. says

    So glad you stuck with this book and ended up liking it. This is one of my favorite books of all time! I loved it! I always recommend it to people. I am definitely going to be reading it again!


  20. says

    I’m so so glad that you stuck with The Glass Castle! I knew you would love it once you read a few pages more. It’s one of my favorite books, and you’re right – it’s such a beautiful, heart-wrenching lesson. Hard to believe that there are people whose lives are lived that way every day.


  21. Carrie says

    Several people have recommended this book to me, and here is why I will NOT be picking it up anytime soon. I am definitely curious to see if anyone has a similar feeling.

    I have LIVED through my own highly dysfunctional, crazy craze family situation. I don’t need to read about someone else’s heartbreak to learn a lesson in appreciation, determination, and limitless love. I’ve already lived it and survived it.

    ALL families have a crack. Some can be more damaging than others, I think. I just think this book might hit too close to home for me. anyone else??


  22. says

    Oooh! Yay a book club! You know what else would be cool? I do this with a few girls that live by me currently…to exchange books in the mail. We have a google docs list of books/reviews and if someone wants the book, we either mail it to them or bring it to them. It helps save on book buying expenses!


  23. says

    I had a tough time with The Glass Castle too. It was interesting, but hard to get into at the same time. I powered through and it definitely got better as it went on, but it really wasnt my favorite book.

    So excited for a PBF Book Club!!


  24. Lindsay C says

    Hi Julie!
    I am so excited for the PBF Book Club! I also loved some of the books you read recently (Art of Racing in the Rain, The Help, Glass Castle) so I can’t wait to start the first book of the club!

    I just have to say I totally feel your pain on missing Sadie. My husband and I left our dog with my mom when we went to Europe in May for two weeks and the whole time I kept asking my husband “what do you think Rigby is doing right now?”. My mom would e-mail me updates on Rigby and I analyzed every word of her e-mails to get a sense of how my baby was doing!

    It is so hard being away from your dog. Don’t you worry sometimes what it will be like when you have kids!?


  25. Tricia says

    The Kite Runner is an AMAZING book, def some tough parts in it. You should also read A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author. Kite Runner is more about the men and TSS is about the women and their lives in afganistan etc…


  26. says

    Exactly why I loved that book so much…it is a LESSON!
    I loved the entire thing, it had me right from the beginning. But my parents are also kind of weird, so I felt like I could relate just a little bit.
    I’m so glad you finished it and enjoyed it 🙂


  27. Beth (Well I'll Be) says

    I’ve been dying to read the Glass Castle! I’m so excited about the book club, I feel like we have similar tastes. If that is true, you will love the Kite Runner.


  28. Angie says

    If you enjoyed The Glass Castle, you’d probably like her other book, Half-Broke Horses. She started researching/writing a book based on her mom’s life, but her mom kept insisting it was her mom (Jeanette’s grandma) that had the amazing life. It is written in first-person, so it’s a mix of fact and fiction of her life.
    Also, I would definitely be interested in joining the book club!


  29. Ryah says

    I loved the glass castle too. It made me so mad when the author and her brother found the diamond ring and brought it to their mom and said” We could sell this and buy food.” And she said “Yes, but If I keep it will help my self esteem.” And then she keeps it. Seriously what parents does that?! It’s amazing how much the siblings loved each other and how well they turned out despite their parents.


  30. says

    Excited for PBF bookclub! And I’m so glad to hear you made it through the Glass Castle, its truly an amazing story, and Jeanette Walls truly is an amazing and inspiring woman.


  31. Mandi says

    Does Sadie bite your hair too when she gets excited? My pup licks, screams like a child, bites my hair, and howls all at the same time when she sees someone she loves.


  32. Kathryn says

    I really enjoyed The Glass Castle. I HIGHLY recommend Night Road by Kristin Hannah and Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult. They are both so good I just had to share:)


  33. Rosa - Fitness, Food, Fulfilled says

    I can’t wait to participate in the book club. I love to read and it’s difficult finding others who really want to discuss a book and not just gossip. Great idea!


  34. duddes02 says

    LOVED the book.

    I have to be honest-at first I had no idea that I was reading a memior. My fiance sends books to my kindle and I don’t really investigate them until I start reading!

    I had a strange childhood too so I related with the author. It’s confusing how her parents showed their love-but ultimately they did care alot about their children. I couldn’t believe when her mom asked her to borrow a million dollars!! Her head was really in the clouds!!

    I was really thrilled to see how much the siblings cared for each other. I don’t have a great relationship with my siblings and I really wish we could have made it through our childhood with a better friendship.

    Looking forward to your book club! I read the kite runner twice-really enjoyed it.


  35. She Said G Said says

    Glad you get to be reunited with your pup. My suggestion for a book club book would be Animal, Vegetable, Miracle A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver!


  36. Katie says

    My dog does the same exact thing! Except I call them “love bites” haha I love when they are so excited they come straight at your nose!


  37. Bianca says

    I almost bought this book yesterday but I stopped myself..I get my financial aid money in a couple weeks, then I’ll buy it!


  38. says

    I love the idea of a virtual/online book club! My former roommate and I used to trade books constantly after one of finished one that we really loved. She moved across state a few months ago, and we’ve been doing the same thing via email and Facebook even though we don’t live together anymore! It’s so much fun to share a great read. I love the idea of doing it with a lot more people 🙂


  39. alissa says

    Two of the latest books I have read and liked:

    13 Reasons Why (by Jay Asher) -a compelling book and a MUST READ :]


    Falling for Hamlet (by Michelle Ray) – a modern day version of hamlet


  40. says

    I totally felt the same with The Glass Castle, it took me awhile to get into it. The first chapter of the book started off really well and then it faded until partway through, then I couldn’t put it down. Some of the stories she tells seem so surreal.

    Love the idea of the book club


  41. says

    I’m glad you stuck it out with the glass castle. If nothing else, it’s so very powerful and makes you so grateful for everything you do have.

    Nibble kisses are my fav. My bf and I call them “bisses” though (bites + kisses = bisses).


  42. says

    So exited about your bookclub! I’m really not much of a book reader but whenever i read about you reading a book, it gets me in the spirit as well. You know what book you should def. Read?! It’s called ‘perfect girls, starving daughters’ by courtney e martin. It’s a real serious and eye opening book!


  43. says

    I was planning on commenting and recommending Half Broke Horses to you but I see that several people have already recommended it! I actually enjoyed it more than The Glass Castle. You also mentioned that you will be reading The Kite Runner. May I suggest A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author! Brutal but such a good book! I’m a new follower by the way.


  44. says

    Edie does nibble kisses too! She usually does it right when we get home from work. Yesterday her whole body trembled when I walked in the door she was so excited.


  45. Courtney says

    I recommend the following book for the book club. It is wonderful. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

    I hope you can get a library card soon! I’d be broke if I bought all the books I enjoy reading. Libraries rock!


  46. says

    I have been wanting to read The Glass Castle … yet NOT wanting to. My own childhood was a bit whacked and I’ve made complete peace with all of it and forgiven everybody as well as learned to love them again, flaws and all.

    I want to read it because I think I’ll be able to relate a little (maybe a lot, who knows). But I don’t want to read it because once you’ve made peace with something, it’s not all that appetizing to keep doing so over and over again, you know?

    I’m such a book-hound, though, and a MAJOR sucker for memoirs and biographies, that I probably will. It definitely won’t be an airplane book for when I’m on the road though! I think I’ll need to have my sweet husband and my snuggle puppy around when I read that one.


  47. Jill says

    I’m so glad you posted about The Glass Castle because it’s actually a required book for one of my classes this coming semester! Now i’m excited to read it!


  48. Kate says

    If you haven’t yet, search for Jeannette Walls on you tube. I was so fascinated by her story after I read the book, and found a few I clips of her mother. Last I checked she was squatting in New York not far from where Jeannette lives and still painting.


  49. Jenn says

    I loved The Glass Castle! I wrote my essay that got me into my dream college 4 years ago on it, so it holds a really special place in my heart.

    Also, I hate leaving my dogs for more than a few hours, I can’t imagine not seeing them for two weeks…I’m glad you were finally reunited 🙂


  50. says

    I loved the Glass Castle, as well as the Kite Runner. I read them both when they just came out! Have a wonderful time with Sadie!!!! I am sure she will be so happy to see you and Ryan.



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