Jeannette Walls, a regular contributor to MSNBC.com, recalls her past in this heartbreaking memoir. Rex Walls, Jeannette’s father, was a brilliant man who couldn't hold a job due to severe alcoholism and rumored schizophrenia. Her mother, Rose Mary, is a flighty artist. When Jeannette was little, her family got by living like hermits in the southwest United States. But when Jeannette is 10-11, her family runs out of money. The Walls flee to Welch, a tiny mining town in West Virginia. For the next 7 years, Jeannette lives in extreme poverty, and just when she thinks they’ve hit rock bottom, it gets much, much, worse. This melancholy true tale is brought to life with Walls’s masterful language and prose. Thought provoking and dynamic, this novel demonstrates the true ruggedness of the human spirit.