Jeannette Walls

«Life there was hard and it made people hard.»

Jeannette Walls


«Submitting seemed to me a lot like giving up. If God gave us the strength to bail- the gumption to try and save ourselves- isn't that what he wanted us to do?»

Jeannette Walls


«...even though I was getting better education at home than any of the kids in Toyah, I'd need to go to finishing school when I was thirteen, both to acquire social graces and to earn a diploma. Because in this world, Dad said, it's not enough to have a fine education. You need a piece of paper to prove you go it.»

Jeannette Walls


«No child is born a delinquent. They only became that way if nobody loved them when they were kids. Unloved children grow up to be serial murderers or alcoholics.»

Jeannette Walls


«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.»

Jeannette Walls


«Since Mom wasn't exactly the most useful person in the world, one lesson I learned at an early age was how to get things done, and this was a source of both amazement and concern for Mom, who considered my behavior unladylike but also counted on me. "I never knew a girl to have such gumption," she'd say. "But I'm not too sure it's a good thing.»

Jeannette Walls


«People are like animals. Some are happiest penned in, some need to roam free. You go to recognize what's in her nature and accept it.»

Jeannette Walls


«I could see why Archimedes got all excited. There was nothing finer than the feeling that came rushing through you when it clicked and you suddenly understood something that had puzzled you. It made you think it just might be possible to get a handle on this old world after all.»

Jeannette Walls


«She had her addictions and one of them was reading.»

Jeannette Walls


«The sound of thunder awake me, and when I got up, my feet sank into muddy water up to my ankles. Mother took Buster and Helen to high ground to pray, but I stayed behind with Apache and Lupe. We barricaded the door with the rug and started bailing water out the window. Mother came back and begged us to go pray with her on the hilltop.»

Jeannette Walls


«It's really not that hard to put food on the table if that's what you decide to do.»

Jeannette Walls


«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.»

Jeannette Walls


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

Jeannette Walls


«You should never hate anyone, not even your worst enemies. Everyone has something good about them. You had to find the redeeming quality and love the person for that.»

Jeannette Walls


«Dad was a philosopher and had what he called his Theory of Purpose, which held that everything in life had a purpose, and unless it achieved that purpose, it was just taking up space on the planet and wasting everybody's time.»

Jeannette Walls


«Don't you make fun of me or my children! Some babies are premature. Mine were all postmature. That's why they're so smart. Their brains had longer to develop.»

Jeannette Walls


«I became known as Lily Casey, the mustang-breaking, poker-playing, horse-race-winning schoolmarm of Coconino County, and it wasn't half bad to be in place where no one had a problem with a woman having a moniker like that.»

Jeannette Walls


«[Mom] said she didn't want her youngest daughter dressed in the thrift-store clothes the rest of us wore. Mom told us we would have to go shoplifting. "Isn't that a sin?" I asked Mom. "Not exactly," Mom said. "God doesn't mind you bending the rules a little if you have good reason. It's sort of like justifiable homicide. This is justifiable pilfering.»

Jeannette Walls


«Most important thing in life is learning how to fall.»

Jeannette Walls


«You have a mighty high opinion of yourself, I told him. The fact is, you don't love me, and you haven't destroyed me. You don't have what it takes to do that»

Jeannette Walls


«Dad was on the porch, pacing back and forth in that uneven stride he had on account of having a gimp leg. When he saw, he let out a yelp of delight and started hobbling down the steps towards us. Mom came running out of the house. She sank down on her knees, clasped her hands in front of her, and started praying up to the heavens, thanking the Lord for delivering her children from the flood.»

Jeannette Walls


«You didn't need a college degree to become one of the people who knew what was really going on. If you paid attention, you could pick things up on your own.»

Jeannette Walls


«It (the sun) didn't really care how I felt, it was going to rise and set regardless of whether I noticed it, and if I was going to enjoy it, that was up to me.»

Jeannette Walls