Review: The Silver Star

silver star   The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls 

 IT IS 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who “found something wrong with every place she ever lived,” 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 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 many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Because money is tight, Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town—a big man who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister—inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz.


I have to confess, I loved The Glass Castle.  In fact, it was one of my favorite books I read last year.  That means, The Silver Star, had a lot to live up to.  I felt the book did well, but I didn’t love it like I did her first book.

The Silver Star is about two sisters, Bean and Liz, and is a family drama.  Their mother takes off and leaves the girls on their own.  They have to leave to avoid social services and they run to where they were born, a small town in Virginia.  They take up residence with their uncle and find themselves learning how to adjust to small town life.

The interactions between the sisters, the classmates, and family members were one of the highlights of the book.  I especially liked the character of Bean.  She is so spunky and stands up for what she believes in.  Some of her actions I did not like, but that is what makes her so realistic.  I also liked the backdrop of the small town and the girls trying to blend in.

I recommend this book if you are a fan of Jeanette Walls or enjoy family dramas.

I give The Silver Star 4 out of 5 stars.


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