Remembering Jeanette Walls


The movie, The Glass Castle, opened in theaters Friday (8/11) and featured a small town in Southern West Virginia. The Glass Castle tells the story of Jeanette Walls, a bestselling author and journalist. Walls spent most of her adolescent life in her father’s hometown of Welch.

The book portrays her struggles growing up and how she made the most of the cards she was dealt. Childhood friends described her as intelligent and kind-hearted, with a vibrant personality.

Cathy Jack, a Welch native and close friend of Walls’, was unaware of the struggles the author faced every day.

“I knew she was poor, and I couldn’t quite grasp why because I also knew her mother was a teacher and my parents were both educators, and I thought why wasn’t she more like me. But I had no idea the world she was living in,” said Jack.

Jack had a very different upbringing from Walls. Her memory of Welch was a stark contrast to the Welch portrayed in The Glass Castle, but she still defended Walls’ impression of her hometown.

“That was the way she saw Welch and growing up. She didn’t live in the same kind of house I lived in, she didn’t have the same kids of parents I have. It was a totally different experience for her,” Jack explained.

Cathy Jack was grateful to have grown up in Welch and said she will always be amazed by her dear friend. 

“Jeanette worked hard, Jeanette had a lot of ambition. And the thing I really admire about her, when she and her sister Lori took off from Welch to go to New York by themselves, they found a place to live, got jobs, she finished high school, she went to college. I mean that says a lot in itself,” Jack said.

After calls from community members and House Delegate, Ed Evans, the Marquee Cinemas in Welch will show The Glass Castle. 

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