Jeannette Walls

She is the narrator and main character of the story. She retells the events of her life living with her careless and yet loving parents.

Jeannette is a daughter of Rex and Rose Mary Walls, the second oldest of four siblings in the Walls family. She is practical, intelligent and attentive. She tries to adhere to rules unlike her mother, but at the same time, she remains adventurous as in childhood. Jeanette respect and idealizes her father, and struggles to reconcile this idealized image with Dad’s unreasonable mistakes.

Finally, she comes to the decision that she must escape from her family and she moves to New York. She is a successful journalist, who earns well and looks confident. Jeannette is going to marry financial analyst David. But during the supper in a luxurious restaurant, Jeannette asks the waiter to wrap her a half-eaten dish. And she also avoids telling the truth about the way of life of her parents. But once the past breaks into the life of the young journalist, and then she has to plunge into the atmosphere of poverty and uncertainty in the future.

She never judges her parents, but as an adult, her relationship with them remains doubtful: from the one hand, she likes them, but on the other hand, she cannot continue to live the way they do.

Jeannette has always had a place for modest joy, dreams, and games, but happiness is not such a thing. However, the girl did not just grow up; she was able to get out of the quagmire, achieved success in the professional field and created a full-fledged family, one that she had never had before.

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Jeannette Walls Quotes

"Things usually work out in the end."
"What if they don't?"
"That just means you haven't come to the end yet."


You should never hate anyone, even your worst enemies. Everyone has something good about them. You have to find the redeeming quality and love the person for that.


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.


Life is a drama full of tragedy and comedy. You should learn to enjoy the comic episodes a little more.


If you don't want to sink, you better figure out how to swim


One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by.


....he said it was interesting. He used the word 'textured'. He said 'smooth' is boring but 'textured' was interesting, and the scar meant that I was stronger than whatever had tried to hurt me.


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.

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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.


Sometimes you need a little crisis to get your adrenaline flowing and help you realize your potential.


Jeannette Walls in the Essays