The Silver Star

Jeannette Walls, author of the hugely popular memoir The Glass Castle (It was on the best seller list for something like 260 weeks!) finally has a new book, The Silver Star, for her legion of fans out there to sink their teeth into. Fifteen year old Liz, and her twelve year old sister “Bean” (really Jean) Holladay live with their artistic, tempermental, scatterbrain mother in Lost Lake, California in 1970. Mum’s always trying to score big with her music career and often leaves the girls to fend for themselves (with a stash of chicken pot pies in the freezer). But after weeks of surviving on their own, when the local cops (“Bandersnatches” the girls call them) come knocking to check up on them, Liz & Bean decide to hightail it to Virginia to stay with their Uncle Tinsley. Kin is kin, and even though mum left Byler vowing never to return, the girls have nowhere else to go. They bus it to Byler, defending off a “perv” as Liz calls him, and arrive unannounced at Uncle Tinsley’s place hoping he’ll accept them into his home, and he does – sort of… the first night they sleep in the barn. Moving from southern California to the back woods of Virginia ain’t easy. But it does get better. Til it gets worse. Bean discovers who her father was, and Liz discovers that standing up for what’s right often means falling down hard in the end. Walls has drawn a beautiful picture of these girls and right from the get-go you’re rooting for them. They are survivors, they deserve better, and you wish them well. There is a distinct similarity between this book and some of the real life antics and memories Jeannette described in The Glass Castle. But that’s OK. I feel they somehow give this book added depth. This is a book about character, circumstances, and survival and it shows us that “life ain’t perfect”… get on with it. It’s a great read. Easy to digest. And will make a great addition to your summer reading list.

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