Buckeye Book Community 2014-2015

The Glass Castle

The 2014-2015 BBC selection is The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

Author Jeannette Walls will be coming to the Columbus campus and ATI students will join in the webcast.

When:  September 23, 2014

             Dinner (free) at 6:30 followed by Ms. Walls speaking at 7:30

Where: Skou 30

Essay Contest

   All students will write an essay as part of the orientation class.  The best ones will be selected by your professors and submitted to a panel of judges for recognition and a prize. Find more information here.

About The Glass Castle
Critics have called Jeannette Walls’ memoir, The Glass Castle, “spectacular," “extraordinary,” “incredible” and “riveting.” It has been a New York Times best seller for more than four years, has sold 3.5 million copies in the United States alone, has been translated into 22 languages and is being made into a movie by Paramount.

In The Glass Castle, Walls describes growing up in the desert of the American Southwest and then in a West Virginia mining town with her three siblings and the brilliant, unorthodox, irresponsible parents who manage at once to neglect them, love them and teach them to face their fears.

The story is at times harrowing and at times hilarious as the children go without food and indoor plumbing yet are encouraged to read Shakespeare and dream of the beautiful glass house they will all one day build. Despite all her hardships, Walls develops the determination to leave West Virginia on her own at the age of sixteen, move to New York City, enroll in Barnard College and eventually become a well-known columnist for New York magazine and MSNBC.com and a television personality.

About the author
Jeannette Walls graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, has been a New York Times bestseller for more than six years. Walls lives in rural Virginia with her husband, the writer John Taylor.

About the BBC
The Buckeye Book Community (BBC) is a shared experience for new, first-year students that begins in the summer and continues throughout their first year at Ohio State. Students receive a copy of the BBC book during orientation and complete the reading before returning to campus in August. Throughout the year, students engage in conversation and connect with one another and with university faculty and staff while using the book as a mechanism to explore the transition to college. The BBC experience also includes a visit from the featured author and campus events and programs organized around the book’s themes.

Goals of the BBC:

  • Foster community among first-year students.
  • Connect first-year students to faculty and staff through campus programming.
  • Promote reflection and dialogue among first-year students and university faculty/staff.
  • Introduce students to expectations of higher education.
  • Provide students with the opportunity to hear from and engage with the author and gain a greater understanding of the author’s motivation and writing process.

Questions to guide your reading.

Use the following questions to help you apply the themes of The Glass Castle to your transition to college and your first year at Ohio State.

1. Throughout the book we hear Rose Mary’s complaint: “I’m a grown woman now, why can’t I do what I want to do?” At what stage can adults do whatever they want, if at all? As a new college student, how will you manage your new sense of independence and autonomy?


2. Rose Mary justifies shoplifting because she has a good reason to do it—to provide clothing for her family. How do you decide if something is right or wrong? In college, you’ll be introduced to many concepts that are complicated and messy and don’t result in a “right”  answer. How will you navigate an educational environment often defined by ambiguity?


3. How do things like family, money, addiction, responsibility, faith, peers or dreams influence the behaviors of different members of the Walls family? Who currently influences you the most? Who will influence you when you get to Ohio State?


4. In college, Jeannette is singled out by a professor for not understanding the plight of homeless people. Instead of defending herself, Jeannette keeps quiet. Why do you think she does this? How do you anticipate negotiating, meeting, and interacting and living with others who have backgrounds different than yours?


5. Bob Dylan once wrote, “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” Using Dylan’s definition, could we say that Rex and Rose Mary were a success? How do you define success? How will you determine if you are successful in college?


6. Is there value in nonconformity? Do we live in a society that encourages being different? What are some ways Rex and Rose Mary do the unexpected? Think about a time when you wanted to do something different but decided to conform instead. Why did you make that choice?


7.  Jeannette describes the squalor she and her family lived in: hunger, poverty, garbage, lack of basic necessities. Conversely, she describes the rich intellectual world her parents imparted: discussions of geology, math, literature, art. What do you think is more important to a child’s development: comfortable living conditions or an enriching intellectual environment?