7 Books Like The Glass Castle That You'll Read in One Sitting
Emotional memoirs to read if you enjoyed The Glass Castle.
Books Similar to The Glass Castle
Have you ever read Jeannette Walls' brilliant memoir, The Glass Castle, chronicling the struggle she and her siblings endured growing up? If not, you need to! If you have and loved it, this article lists seven books like The Glass Castle you need to read next!
As readers, we've been blessed with a wealth of heartfelt and powerful memoirs from writers courageous enough to share their stories. The books we selected include a variety of different voices with a variety of different stories, but all have one thing in common: the amazing way they embody the human spirit.
It can be difficult reading memoirs because you know what you're reading actually happened. That's also what makes each story that much more personal and relatable. These seven books like The Glass Castle are ones you don't want to miss!
1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Most everyone has heard of Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Angelou's classic memoir is a tribute to the growth and heartache of childhood. As a young child, she and her brother, Bailey, relocate to a small Southern town to live with their grandmother. While there, they must "endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local 'powhitetrash.'"
While in St. Louis at age eight, Angelou is attacked a man much older than her, an event far too many of us can relate to. It isn't until she is an adult living in San Francisco that Angelou is finally able to reach deep within herself and learn to extend herself the compassion she's always deserved.
2. Coming Clean: A Memoir by Kimerbly Miller
As an adult, Kimberly Rae Miller seems to have her entire life put together. She has a wonderful career, a loving boyfriend, beautiful little apartment in Brooklyn. But in her memoir, Coming Clean, you'll discover that wasn't always the case. Growing up on Long Island, each room of Miller's family home was filled to the brim with "stacks of aging newspaper, broken computers, and boxes upon boxes of unused junk."
As the daughter of a hoarder, she grew up ashamed, hiding her family life from friends, and even attempted to take her life. Despite all this, Miller loved her parents and their relationship thrived over time in this tale of recovery and redemption.
3. In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero and Michelle Burford
You know her as a successful actress from Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, but when Diane Guerrero was just 14, she came from school to discover her parents had been arrested. Before too long, her parents were deported to Columbia and, because she was born in the United States, Guerrero remained in the U.S., relying on the kindness of family friends.
After her parents' deportation, Guerrero never truly felt at home and kept her story secret until she realized sharing it could help the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States and their families. Her story brings to light the haunting experience of living in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant with a system that fails asylum seekers and immigrants again and again.
4. Two or Three Things I Know For Sure by Dorothy Allison
Dorothy Allison's Two or Three Things I Know For Sure is a unique book on this list. Not only is it told in beautifully written vignettes, but it's also, at less than 100 pages, a very quick read. However, if it was any longer, it would take away from Allison's unique storytelling. In Allison's memoir, she dives into her complex family history to tell the story of the Gibson women and the men in their lives, the way men treat them, abuse and use them. Allison also talks about her own abuse as a child.
Her novel, Bastard Out of Carolina is a semi-autobiographical version of Allison's tale, published in 1992 before Two or Three Things I Know For Sure was released, and also worth a read!
5. All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung
Nicole Chung was born in Korea, very premature. Her birth parents made the decision to place for adoption, and she was adopted by a white family in Oregon. All You Can Ever Know is her lifelong struggle with her identity as an Asian American transracial adoptee.
Her entire life, Chung was told "her biological parents made the ultimate sacrifice in the hope of giving her a better life," but she was never sure if this was the entire truth. After all, she grew up facing prejudices her family never faced and often couldn't see, and Chung became more curious about where she came from. The birth of Chung's child coincided with her search for her birth family, along with the "surprising repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets."
6. Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward
In her memoir, Men We Reaped, Jesmyn Ward writes about growing up in poverty in rural Mississippi, and everything that comes along with it. Between accidents, drugs, and suicide, in the short span of five years, Ward lost five young men in her life. This included friends and her only brother. As she began to write about experiencing so much much loss in a short amount of time, it dawned on her why it all happened.
Ward's loved ones died "because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships." Ward's writing about race, poverty, and grief, is a profound look at an America white people will never know.
7. Abandon Me: Memoirs by Melissa Febos
Melissa Febos' memoir, Abandon Me, doesn't hold back, an honest reflection of sex, addiction, identity, and truth. Febos has long felt the need for connection with family, lovers, and herself. The only presence her birth father had in her life was a legacy of addiction and Native American heritage. Instead, she was raised by a loving sea captain who spend months away at a time on his ship.
Later, Febos has a long-distance relationship with a woman "marked equally by worship and withdrawal." The affair is all-consuming, often to the point of obsession, both terrifying and exhilarating. In an emotional memoir, Febos weaves a story that feels "startlingly universal."
Let's Keep the Conversation Going...
Did you enjoy The Glass Castle? Which memoir will you read first?