Title: The Silver Star
Author: Jeannette Walls
Genre: Fiction/Biographical, Fiction/General, Fictional/Literary
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls’ gripping new novel that “transports us with her powerful storytelling…She contemplates the extraordinary bravery needed to confront real-life demons in a world where the hardest thing to do may be to not run away” (O, The Oprah Magazine).
It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.
An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Money is tight, and the sisters start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town, who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Liz is whip-smart—an inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz in the car with Maddox.
Jeannette Walls has written a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other and the world, despite its flaws and injustices.
The very first two sentences of this book read, “My sister saved my life when I was just a baby. Here’s what happened.” After just reading two sentences, I knew I would be spending a long, wonderful day on the couch reading because I wanted to know what life was like for these two sisters. When an author has the ability to grab your attention immediately, you know you are in for an intriguing story.
The book The Silver Star is a story about two sisters who grow up bouncing from place to place on the whims of their artistic, impulsive mother who’s in the habit of running from her problems. By the young ages of 12 and 15, the girls have never experienced staying in one place for very long. Their mother goes from being so happy she has stars in her eyes to so hopeless she needs to go off on her own to find herself while the girls are left to fend for themselves. Liz and Jean, also known as Bean by her older sister, have very astute survival skills and have mostly taken on the role of the adult. They know that they can’t depend on their mother to take care of them so they learn to take care of each other. The sisters truly find amazing ways to thrive after injustices have come their way. In the end, it’s a story of triumph and justice as bad people in their lives reap what they sow and an unreliable parent learns to stop running and be there for her children even when it’s painful to stay.
The Silver Star is the first book I’ve read by Jeannette Walls and it was a great read. I won’t forget this story or the same theme that is portrayed in all of her books according to the previews I’ve read for Half Broke Horses and The Glass Castle: A Memoir. The reoccurring theme comes from Jeannette Walls upbringing where she and her siblings had to essentially depend on each other instead of the adults in their lives. They were forced to be the adults because of traumas that happened to their parents in which they never healed from. It moves me how strong and wise her characters grow to be after so much adversity just as Jeannette Walls and her siblings learned to do.
She begins this book with the perfect quote by Oscar Wilde, “The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
I rate this book 5/5.