The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls – Favorite Quotes


“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 to the fire I had flushed down the toilet and the fire burning at the hotel. I didn’t have the answers to those question, 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.” pg. 34

“Dad missed the wilderness. He needed to be roaming free in open country and living among untamed animals. He felt it was good for your soul to have buzzards and coyotes and snakes around. That was the way man was meant to live, he’d say, in harmony with the wild, like the Indians, not this lords-of-the-earth crap, trying to rule the entire god-damn planet, cutting down all the forests and killing every creature you couldn’t bring to heel.” pg. 106

“No one tried to wring Dad’s neck or yell at him or even point out that he’d ruined the Christmas his family had spent weeks planning – the Christmas that was supposed to be the best we’d ever had. When Dad went crazy, we all had our own ways of shutting down and closing off, and that was what we did that night.” pg. 115

“‘I wonder what life will be like now,’ I said to Lori.
‘The same,’ she said. ‘He tried stopping before, but it never lasted.’
‘This time it will.’
‘How do you know?’
‘It’s his present to me.'” pg. 118

“‘Life is a drama full of tragedy and comedy,’ Mom told me. ‘You should learn to enjoy the comic episodes a little more.'” pg. 129

“Lori and I did work out a budget, and we included a generous allowance for Mom to cover luxuries such as extra-large Hershey bars and cut crystal vases. If we kept to our budget, we believed, we could afford new clothes and shoes and coats, and buy a ton of coal at the cheaper off-season price. Eventually, we could install insulation, run a water pipe into the house, and maybe even add a water heater. But Mom never turned the money over to us. So even though she had a steady job, we were living pretty much like we had before.” pg. 198

“He never said anything, but I think he figured that, as when we were kids, we both stood a better chance if we took on the world together.” pg. 250

“If every action in the universe that we thought was random actually conformed to a rational pattern, Dad said, that implied the existence of a divine creator, and he was beginning to rethink his atheistic creed. ‘But if the physics — the quantum physics — suggests that God exists, I’m more than willing to entertain the notion.'” pg. 261

“In August, Dad called to go over my course selection for the fall semester. He also wanted to discuss some of the books on the reading lists. Since he’d come to New York, he’d been borrowing my assigned books from the public library. He read every single one, he said, so he could answer any questions I might have. Mom said it was his way of getting a college education along with me.” pg. 264

“Eventually, even Mom acknowledged that I’d done all right. ‘No one expected you to amount to much,’ she told me. ‘Lori was the smart one, Maureen the pretty one, and Brian the brave one. You never had much going for you except that you always worked hard.'” pg. 270

“In the months that followed, I found myself always wanting to be somewhere other than where I was. If I was at work, I’d wish I were at home. If I was in the apartment, I couldn’t wait to get out of it. If a taxi I had hailed was stuck in traffic for over a minute, I got out and walked. I felt best when I was on the move, going someplace rather than being there. I took up ice-skating. I rose early in the morning and made my way through the quiet, dawn-lit streets to the rink, where I laced up my skates so tightly my feet throbbed. I welcomed the numbing cold and even the jolt of my falls on the hard, wet ice. The fast-paced, repetitive maneuvers distracted me, and sometimes I went back at night to skate again, returning home only when it was late and I was exhausted. It took me a while to realize that just being on the move wasn’t enough; that I needed to reconsider everything.” pg. 280