Read The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls Online


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 TIt 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Poe, nonconformist, but when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn.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....

Title : The Silver Star
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781451661507
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 267 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Silver Star Reviews

  • Jaki
    2018-10-04 01:06

    Jeannette Walls wrote two fabulous memoirs – The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses. I devoured them both in a couple of days. Half Broke Horses is the tale of her incredible grandmother, and The Glass Castle is the tale of Walls’ own life, growing up with her “eccentric” mother and alcoholic father. Both books were extremely well-written and fantastic reads, despite the sad and unnerving stories of the emotional abuse. So I was quite excited to be reading an advanced copy of her new book, a fictional tale of two young sisters.Ultimately I was disappointed. While you can certainly see the influence of her own life in The Silver Star, the book just doesn’t flow as naturally as do her memoirs. It’s quite jerky in places, with stilted dialogue and flat characters. While we get to know young 12 year old Bean very well, the other main characters don’t seem to be developed as much. We don’t get a real explanation of why their Uncle Tinsley goes from being a supposedly normal person, to an eccentric recluse who lives in a house that would take pride of place in an episode of Hoarders.Bean herself is a wonderful character. Think shades of Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. Although I suppose any fictional young female character who is quite feisty and quick-witted will suffer from that comparison. Her older sister Liz, seems to live in a world of her own most of the time – which gets worse after her incident that propels the second part of the book. After so long of being looked after by Liz, Bean needs to step up and be the caregiver, something that she does well. She’s a strong, funny, loveable character and it’s her voice that drives the story.I do love coming of age stories. Particularly when the protagonist is a young female, living in the times of the 40s – 70s. I don’t know why I’m attracted to those time periods, I just am. Set in the 1970′s in a small American town that is going through integration for the first time, Bean is trying to make her way and find a home for herself and her sister. In a town full of stereotypes – the evil mill foreman, his downtrodden wife, Bean’s new-found family of caring and loving country folks – Bean and Liz deal with their family name, their neglectful mother’s emotional abuse and a horrific tragedy that befells Liz.The silver star mentioned in the title seems to be the medal Bean’s true father received during the Korean War, yet the medal itself is only mentioned a few times and doesn’t really have a big impact on the story. It’s a curious choice for a title. The Silver Star just doesn’t live up to Walls’ previous writings. Flat in so many areas, two dimensional characters – save for Bean herself – it just doesn’t pack the punch that Half Broke Horses and The Glass Castle do.This review is also available at my book review blog Tangled Bookmarks:

  • Missy
    2018-10-06 04:12

    I am huge fan of Jeannette Walls (hence the generous three stars), but this book fell flat. It seemed contrived and predictable. From the characters, to the plot, the entire book read like a symphony composed of only one note. There was nothing special, surprising or unique about this book. I still love JW and will read her next book. If you read this one, borrow it from a friend or check it out at the library.

  • Stephanie *Very Stable Genius*
    2018-09-22 07:07

    I’m a fan of Jeanette Walls. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, is a book that keeps popping up into my consciousness every now and then at very odd times. I think that is a mark of a really great book. Though I really enjoyed The Silver Star, I don’t foresee the same thing happening.Sisters, Bean and Liz Holladay have the misfortune of being the daughters of a supremely flakey mother, Charlotte, who doesn’t see a problem leaving a 12 and 15 year old home alone for weeks at a time. She has to find herself apparently. But in the women’s defense, she does leave enough money to keep the girls in chicken pot pies.When people in the small, Southern California town of Lost Lake become suspicious, the sisters decide to leave and travel across country by bus to ‘visit’ their mother’s family in Virginia unannounced. Their Uncle Tinsley (hoarder) takes them in, reluctantly at first.Not wanting to be a burden, the girls go in search of jobs. The only person willing and able to employ them is a man by the name of Jerry Maddox. Forman of the mill, formerly owned by the Holladay’s, he is the most powerful man in town, and the least popular. Most likely the result of being a Jackass.I liked the book a lot…..but….It started off really strong, but then it felt like it lost momentum. It’s not a bad book by far, but I felt like she kind of gave up little at some point while writing it. The ending was a little predictable, which was disappointing. 3.75 (Silver) stars.

  • Marialyce
    2018-10-16 00:14

    After having read Ms Walls' first two novels, this one was a disappointment. The writing and the story telling was simplistic and probably makes for an ok YA novel. This author does seem quite focused on someone being a bad parent and one would guess after the experiences she and her siblings went through that that makes sense.This was certainly an easy quick read, however, it was not very inspiring. On the plus side, it did show the resiliency of sisters and one of family ties that oftentimes saves one who is in a bad situation.

  • Meredith Holley (Sparrow)
    2018-09-29 01:04

    It’s been a weird year, you guys. I bleached my hair blonde again, and if I haven’t mentioned it before, people say the most ridiculous stuff to blondes. It’s crazy. It’s like people are standing in line to make idiots out of themselves if you have blonde hair. Blondes, you guys have to dye your hair brown for a while. Just do it to see what life is like on the other side. It’s real different. You can go places and not have people be asses to you. Samples of some of the weird things people have said (and these are not even close to the worst):1. I was walking down a hall and a security officer in his fifties or sixties was walking towards me. I realized that I needed something back at my desk, so I turned around. As I was walking away, the security officer said, “Are you ticklish?”I turned around, and thinking I must have misheard him, said, incredulously, “What?!”“Are you ticklish?” He repeated.“Huh,” I said, and walked away. Then I spent the next week trying to figure out if there is another, totally normal meaning to that question. People have not been able to tell me one, so if you know of anything, pass it along.2. I was judging oral arguments at the law school last spring. I was wearing a judge’s robe and sitting on the bench in the school’s classroom that is set up like a courtroom. There were two other judges in robes, and the professor of the class was there. To provide context, when I was in school, oral arguments were the most terrifying thing I did.The topic of the oral arguments was an allegedly illegal seizure, and one of the issues was whether the discovery of a warrant against the defendant, in the words of the Supreme Court, “purged the taint of the illegality of the initial search.” So, we had questions written out for us as suggestions of what to ask the students. I had to ask this one question about the warrant issue, and I was trying to say it in my own words, but I was stumbling. The student interrupted me, said he knew what I was trying to ask, and answered the question.Then, as he was leaving the room, after his argument was done, he said in a low voice, but still TO A JUDGE IN A ROBE AND IN FRONT OF HIS TERRIFYING PROFESSOR, either, “Gotta purge that taint, huh?” or “I’ll help you purge that taint.” And he didn’t do it in so much of a come-on way, as much as he did it in this way like that was why I had stumbled over the question and we were sharing an inside joke. We were so not sharing that joke.So, those are just a couple of the less-lawsuit-material, less-totally-dehumanizing experiences I’ve had with this blonde hair business. I bet, at this point, you are seriously wondering how I am going to wrap this idea around to relate to the book. Here’s how: I think having blonde hair makes people associate me as a child, so they feel more free to say inappropriate things and show terrible judgment. And Jeannette Walls is so amazing at telling stories of what assholes people are to kids. She is a genius at telling these gut-wrenching stories without being maudlin. And lord knows I can’t handle the maudlin. So, like the people in Byler, I am left thinking that if some skinny kids can stand up for themselves in this way, I can. It was, you know, inspirational, without being sickly heartwarming.The Silver Star is the story of two sisters who just experience life kicking the shit out of them, like ya do, and respond by being these brilliant, scrappy heroes. This story is not accusatory, and it is unflinching, and it’s not exploitative of the victimization of children, but it touches on just about every hideous topic possible. I guess something I love about Walls is that she isn’t writing for middle-class comfort, and to me that makes her stories more true and less manipulative than most. And this book touched on almost every hot-button issue: civil rights, Vietnam, corporatization, child neglect, and sexual assault, so it was rife with opportunities for me to get mad about exploitation and privilege comfort. But, Walls knows how to tell that stuff.It seems like, at least on some level, this book is a response to The Help. Maybe Walls had this crisis of conscience and thought, “Eeeesh, someone needs to show this unfortunate Stockett woman how to write with a little humility about experiencing the South in the Civil Rights Era.” And this is how you do it. You know your own perspective, and you recognize that not everyone admired you. Not that this book is even really about racism, other than in a peripheral way, but that is what seems appropriate to me. Walls isn’t black, so she can only give the perspective of a white girl and her black friends, to the extent they tell her their perspective. But, Bean’s friend Vanessa had more dignity, in her small appearances in this book, than the whole of the black maids in The Help. And, good lord, these kids made some excellent points about To Kill a Mockingbird.This was a lovely novel, and I appreciated all of its purposefulness and structure. This was how you should tell a Social Topics story. I would say I did not enjoy this, in a page-turning way, as much as I enjoyed The Glass Castle, but I did enjoy it, and the end really paid off. I know Walls is not for everyone because, where I experience beauty the most as overcoming and conquering evil, some people experience beauty as finding peace or reinforcing principles, or you name it. But, to me, these were wonderful, human characters. I’ll also say that a lot of things in here were weirdly reminiscent of my college days – from the baby left on the top of the car to the word-playing, to the emus. Just weirdly striking associations that make me look behind me to see if Walls is watching. Hopefully, instead, she is just breaking a path for me because I want to be her when I grow up.

  • Maxwell
    2018-10-07 06:10

    3.5 stars This was a very quick, enjoyable read. It definitely gave me similar vibes asThe Glass Castle andWhite Oleander, but my one complaint is that it seemed to lack the depth that those books had. Though it approached serious topics with care, it didn't seem to analyze them enough for me. It felt very surface-level. Nonetheless, I enjoy Walls' writing style and it would be a good pick for people who read a lot of YA and might want to tread into adult literary fiction.

  • Leigh
    2018-10-07 07:18

    I read the book in a day and was left longing to know more about the sisters lives as they grew older. Mrs Walls has again given me a book that keeps me thinking about the people you meet in life and their story. I had the great opportunity of hearing Mrs. Walls speak a couple of years ago, she encouraged everyone to write their story.....what an inspiration she is!

  • Kimberly Schlarman
    2018-10-01 04:30

    Poorly written. There was very little character development and I ultimately couldn't decide what this novel was supposed to be about. An unreliable mother? A grumpy uncle? Rape? Racism? Small town justice? A family's attempt to heal itself? A girl's coming-of-age? Emus? The story was just all over the place and the author didn't really delve into any one subject thoroughly enough to tie it all together. It was the same with the characters. The author never really explored the motivations of anyone--which is a shame because the uncle, the mother, all of the Wyatts, even Maddox should have been much more interesting than what they were. And, personally, I couldn't find Bean that compelling because she was too much of a Scout Finch wannabe. Walls created a good setup but sadly it went nowhere.

  • Alena
    2018-10-02 04:25

    3.5 stars. A good story by a gifted writer, but I expected much better. I liked Bean a lot but the rest of the characters seem pale by comparison and the story feels almost too easy.

  • [Shai] The Bibliophage
    2018-09-26 00:09

    Curiosity kicked in when I first read the title of this book and I included this right away in my to-read list. I've read some not-so-good reviews here regarding this book, but it didn't stop me from reading this and enjoying the story. Liz and Bean's mother, Charlotte, totally irked me for being so irresponsible. It is her fault why her daughters decided to left and went to Virginia; they faced several serious problems such as money, bullying and harassment. At least the girls were still lucky because there are several people who helped them, like their Uncle Tinsley and Bean's paternal relatives.I enjoyed reading this, but I don't consider this to be an outstanding novel.

  • Diane S ☔
    2018-09-30 03:31

    If ever an author is able to write a wonderfully poignant novel about two young girls and an unstable mother, Wallis is the one. She has a such a fluent way of storytelling and a compassionate treatment of her characters. Bean is twelve, her sister fifteen and though it is usually her older sister who takes care of her, circumstances will later dictate that it is Bean who will become the fighter. Bean has a big mouth, she believe in justice and she does not believe in letting things go. She reminds me so much of myself at that age. Unfortunately for many of us family or life circumstances make one grow up much faster than their chronological age can show. Bean is our narrator and I do not believe she is an unreliable one. Although they grew up faster as far as responsibility, the girls are still naive in many things to do with the world.Family, and family loyalty are also themes. The pros and cons of living in a small town. Segregation and the repercussions of schools being forced to segregate. I also liked the almost tender way Wallis treats the mental illness of their mother, who does manage to hold it together long enough when her daughter really needed her. Bean wormed her way into my heart, just as a young Jeanette did in her memoir, "Glass Castle." She understands young girls and I hope she writes many more stories such a this one. She really gets it. ARC from Publisher.

  • Caitlin
    2018-10-02 05:31

    The Glass Castle is one of my favorite books and I enjoyed Half Broke Horses, but I was not a fan of Silver Star. In my opinion, the further Jeannette Walls strays from telling a story that is her own, the worse the story. While I know she has gone through some terrible situations in her own life, I don't think creating new ones through fiction is her strength. She did a great job of creating the characters in Silver Star and the problems that went with the characters, but the book never really went anywhere. The ending was wrapped up in a strange way that left me feeling as if the problems surrounding the characters were unresolved. I think Walls spent too much time on character development and not enough time of the story. I wish the emu storyline could have been replaced with more of a resolution for the "tribe of three." Also - killing Jerry Maddox was such a terrible way of handling the conflict involving Maddox the and the girls - it seemed like Walls took the easy way out with that ending.

  • Steven Belanger
    2018-09-25 01:16

    For the first time in recent memory, I find myself not giving four or five stars to a book that I read very quickly, in a couple of days. Which is not to say that I disliked it. In fact, I did like it, sometimes a lot, sometimes just in an okay kind of way. But the book ultimately is a letdown from Walls's The Glass Castle, as all of her future works are probably destined to be. How can you match the excellence of a book that still maintains a solid perch on many national and worldwide bestseller lists, eight years after its initial publication?This is a good, quick and easy read, but for once that comes across as not enough. The story suffers from an arc that peaks at the beginning, when it deals with the main character's narcissistic and manic mother (a conceit that Walls apparently excels at) and then descends until it stretches into a consistently straight line that never deviates, good or bad, up or down, until it just ends. This line is still rather high, but not as high as the beginning, and not as high as it could have ascended to. In essence, that's the problem here: the story never becomes what it could, and maybe should, have been. It's a very good effort, and the reader feels that maybe this is Walls trying to be a fiction writer, with bigger and better things to come.Another problem is the saccharine feel of the story. Every character but for Bean, the narrator, is a very flawed person with a very good reason for being so, and usually with a very upbeat personality despite their incredible burdens and sufferings. Such a world desperately needs a dirty, no-good villain, and Silver Star finally gets one: Jerry Maddox, who beats and suppresses his wife, and who tries to sexually abuse the young girls he hires to care for his house and property. He is a man who has no redeeming qualities at all--and he comes across as so despicable that you would assume a real-life person like this really would not have one good character trait at all. Yet there is the problem with this novel's characterizations: they're all extreme, and they're all very, all the time.Bean, the first-person narrator, is an extremely likable, very spunky twelve-year old, always. She never deviates from that. She has no real anxieties, or moments of deep profundity or depression, or anything else. Her mother is extremely careless, and a very bad, manic mother, all the time. She never deviates from that. She never has even one single moment of clarity, or of slowing down, or of realization. I could go on and on...The world all of these characters live in is seen through a distant haze of simplicity and rosiness. Racism, segregation, peer pressure, bullying, family issues, the death of a father, sexual assault, social bias, socio-economic unfairness, lack of justice---all of these things are dealt a passing glance, and are more or less shrugged off by the main character and by many of the minor characters. Every tree, prop, animal or pet (and I do mean each and every one) is serving double-duty, both as themselves and as willing symbols and extended metaphors, and the reader gets the impression that Walls was chomping at the bit to finally nail the folksy image.And as every book of teenage angst has to mention Catcher in the Rye at least once if the comparison and homage (or derivation) is too obvious, so too must every book of southern race and justice acknowledge To Kill A Mockingbird. This book does that so many times that it's worthy of comment. There is a very nice scene, however, in which a very minor character says a very major thing about Harper Lee's book--and it may strike the reader as a revelation, as it did with me. This alone makes this novel worthy of a read.And this novel is worthy of a read, despite the many comments above. It is perhaps a mirror-opposite of the horrors that Walls and others have covered in similarly-themed memoirs. In this world, the children are saved from a shockingly careless, selfish and narcissistic mother; injustice is quickly righted; a lost girl is swiftly saved--and the reader wants all that to happen, and excuses the un-reality because of it. The characters and the advice they give are all folksy, and catchy, on the page, if not in the reader's vernacular. The townspeople are all pleasant and likeable. The villain is appropriately unlikeable, and is dealt with at the end in a justifiable manner, though even that happens with a surprisingly narrated distance, a distance that too much of this novel has after the sisters move away from their mother.Anyway, it's mostly good writing even if it's not good structure or good world-making, and everyone's likeable and the world, at least in the novel, turns out to be an okay place, and somehow it all comes together. And the reader (or at least this one) doesn't feel badly about being okay with all that, even if it's clearly all bunk. That's a lot coming from me, since I usually demand harsh and gritty reality if the story is about harsh and gritty things. You won't get that here, and I'm surprisingly okay with that. And you will be, too.

  • Joe
    2018-09-28 05:24

    There is a strong undercurrent of To Kill A Mockingbird lurking in The Silver Star. I wonder how many people who have read TKAM understand how the title relates to the work. While there are no mockingbirds in this novel there are emus and a silver star and their symbolism is as strong as the mockingbird. I found the novel powerful in many ways. Like Scout, the narrator of TKAM, Bean is a twelve year old girl with a strong personality. It is Bean that provides an anchor and a moral compass to the story. As Scout watches and protects her brother Jem, Bean, who is younger, does the same for her sister Liz. The symbiotic relationship is strong and necessary as something happens to Liz. I was caught by both the simplicity and power of the author's prose. Clearly she understands the inner workings of a child's world view and has explored that in her previous works. This one, however, speaks of loss and redemption and offers hope in a number of ways. It is extremely well written and beautifully descriptive in spots as Bean speaks of her sister Liz, "she felt that she was sort of an emu herself...Maybe that was why she'd had flying dreams ever since she was a little girl-at heart, she was an emu. She was sure the emus dreamed of flying. It was another thing they had in common. Both she and the emus wanted to fly -they just didn't have the wings they needed. Too often I find many authors unable to satisfactorily transport readers to a different time and place and create the necessary magic to make them believe they are really there. This author provided the reader with those necessary wings to ensure flight.

  • Erica
    2018-10-20 06:28

    Oh, this started out so well. I was mesmerized for the first two or three CDs. We've got the tough older sister watching out for the thoughtful younger sister because the mom can't really do the mothering thing. We've got a trip cross-country to see a barely-known uncle. We've got smart moves and new towns and a big, bad villian!And then it all fell apart.I hate feeling preached-at, I absolutely hate it. I felt preached-at for a good quarter of this book. It was like little 12-year-old Bean went from a kid who is pretty much being cared for by her clever, capable older sister to this wise sage who is the only person able to see the ALL the truths in the tiny town but there's no bridge between the two. She's just kid one day and wisewoman the next. She has thoughts about racism, she has thoughts about justice, she has thoughts about To Kill a Mockingbird, and all these thoughts are much older and more profound than what hers should have been. There was no prior indication that we've got an old soul/wisdom of the ages child on our hands until she starts spouting and spewing and telling the reader what is right and what is wrong, only doing so in her supposed child's tender and unaware voice.I wasn't convinced.I also wasn't convinced by her sister. She started out so well and then just sort of fell apart and turned into nothing, an empty space.The mom was the standard I-came-from-a-small-town-and-now-I'm-going-to-be-famous fare. She seems to be bi-polar, probably manic-depressive and not so much bi-polar II, but only a fictional version. She can't get her shit together and she's focused solely on herself though claiming to love her children above all, yet she's still a loveable scamp.Uncle Tinsley. Weak.Aunt Al was the biggest disappointment, though. There was so much potential for her to be the foil to the girls' wayward mother and instead, she merely represents the hardworking mom who busts butt to keep her family going. So, opposite Bean's mom, yes, but not complementary. She wasn't as strong as she was supposed to have been, she didn't help guide these kids whom she'd taken on as family. She cooked eggs and worked nights and encouraged her son to steal food because those farmers don't use it all, anyway. She kept quiet when she should have spoken up and she couldn't be relied upon in Bean's time of need because she doesn't like to give advice (worst reason to not confide in an adult. I rolled my eyes)So I loved the first couple of discs and I liked the last chapter. Everything else seemed to have derailed into something I didn't enjoy and now I see why I was the first of my friends to read this book.

  • Sidna
    2018-09-22 23:22

    Wow! I loved this book. Glancing at the other reviews, I liked it a lot more than most of the other reviewers.I'm a big fan of Jeannette Walls' writing and as soon as I saw she had a new book out, I had to read it. This one is definitely a novel and not based on her life or any of her relatives.The book opens with two sisters (they are really half sisters who share the same mother, but have different fathers), Liz who is 15 and Bean who is 12. The year is 1970 and they live in a small town in California with their mother who considers herself to be a performer, but doesn't earn enough money to support their family of three. She often leaves the girls for a few days at a time. The subsist on eating pot pies when she is gone.One day the mother leaves and sends the girls enough money to last a month or two. When it appears that their mother has no plans to return in the immediate future, Liz decides that they need to take a bus to Virginia, where their uncle whom they have never met lives in the decaying family mansion.Although at the beginning of the book, Bean depends on Liz for leadership, Bean turns out to be the one who takes action to save the family. All through the book, I couldn't help but compare Bean to Scout Finch from "To Kill a Mockingbird" and the younger sister from Jodi Picoult's "My Sister's Keeper," spunky girls who did what needed to be done. I'm torn about having my teen-aged granddaughters read this book, but will probably send them a copy along with "The Glass Castle."Once I started the book, I could hardly put it down.

  • Judy
    2018-10-02 06:01

    Jean (Bean) Holladay narrates the story of her and her sister, Liz's, maturation during a year of tumult and turmoil. Daughters of an aspiring actress/musician who never seems to make it, the girls are often left alone to fend for themselves while their Mother searches for work or takes weeks trying to "find herself". When Bean comes home to espy police sniffing around their home, the sisters hop on a bus and head for their Mother's birthplace and the hope of shelter and safety of their Uncle. What comes next is the courage learned in the face of adversities of all kinds.While I liked the story, Walls' writing style, how well Walls is able to write about mental illness in a believable way and the general storyline, there are parts of the story that didn't seem believable to me. Here is a short list: (view spoiler)[1. Even though this is the 60s-70s, could two girls really travel crosscountry with no questions asked, especially while school was in session?2. Since the Uncle was so adverse to the girls working and adamant about them wearing their Mother's old clothes, wouldn't he wonder where the blue jeans and dresses were coming from?3. Didn't he ever wonder where they were while not at school?4. Wouldn't the school expect him to be the girls guardian in order to enroll them in school, get them medical treatment, etc? (hide spoiler)]Many of the characters could have stood for more fleshing out - the Uncle first and foremost.However, overall, I liked the story and see it as a good first attempt at writing fiction. (I consider Half-broke Horse a memoir since it is so closely based on her grandmother's life.) I would imagine a book or two down the line and she will be as good a fiction writer as memoirist.3.5 stars

  • Jen
    2018-09-27 00:21

    Let me preface by saying I adored Jeannette Walls' memoir, The Glass Castle, so I have been looking forward to this novel for a long time. I may have built it up in my mind a bit too much. If Goodreads allowed it, I would have given it 2.5 stars instead of 2 stars as it was a sweet story. My problem with the book was that I felt like the characters were pretty cardboard and unoriginal. The precocious, spunky female tween protagonist, the mother who was a larger than life, flaky, aspiring superstar, and abandoned the girls to pursue her dreams, the quirky, hermit uncle with no kids of his own who takes them in...We've met them all before. The main plot involves the young girl, Bean, and her older sister, facing off against the powerful town "bad guy" while Bean also tries to fit in at school and discover her roots. Although a sweet enough story, the feeling that I'd met these cookie cutter characters before made this book fall a bit short for me. Interestingly enough, I was reading The Silver Star at the same time I was reading The Last Summer of the Camperdowns by Elizabeth Kelly, both coming of age novels narrated by 12-13 year old female protagonists and both taking place in the early 1970s. The Last Summer of the Camperdowns was far superior to The Silver Star...more beautiful language, better plot, more interesting characters.

  • Connie
    2018-09-23 01:22

    3.5 starsLike Jeanette Walls' memoir, The Glass Castle, this novel features a self-centered, unstable parent neglecting the children. Fifteen-year-old Liz and twelve-year-old Bean are abandoned in California with some money for chicken pot pies when their mother goes off to "find the magic again." When she does not return, they board a bus for rural Virginia where their Uncle Tinsley lives. It's a big adjustment to be living in a 1970s Southern mill town during the first year of school integration.The book is narrated by Bean, a strong, spunky girl with a lot of the same spirit as Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, which she is studying at school. Bean and Liz get jobs in the household of Jerry Maddox, the town bully and mill manager. After Liz goes through a terrifying incident, the girls decide to seek justice.Bean was a smart, spirited girl that occasionally seemed too mature for a twelve-year-old, and acted like a child at other times. While much of the plot was expected once the girls were hired by Jerry Maddox, the book still kept my interest. There were some sweet and funny scenes when Liz bonded with some escaped emus near the end of the book. "Both she and the emus wanted to fly--they just didn't have the wings they needed."

  • Amy
    2018-10-05 05:30

    I really enjoyed this dark, gothic book! I loved the narration and that the main character was a young, spunky child. This choice added depth and voice to the tale, helping me truly feel for the characters. At times this book was filled with the lightness of childhood and others extreme darkness. I also was swept away by the setting, truly feeling the south and craving summer days. The characters in this book were so varied! From captivating, frustrating horrifying and endearing, they all had strong personalities that tugged at my heart strings in one way or another. Overall, I could not put this book down!

  • Amy
    2018-10-19 23:29

    No one does dysfunction quite as well as Jeanette Walls. She once again probes the ins and outs of family dysfunction in her latest novel, The Silver Star. The novel, set in 1970, opens in California, where Liz, age fifteen, and her sister Bean, age twelve are living with their artistic and unconventional mother Charlotte. Liz, the strong older sister is often the voice of reason in the family, while Bean is still attempting to discover herself. When Charlotte leaves them along for longer than her normal few days, and the authorities start snooping around, the girls decide to take a bus to Virginia to the family home. When they arrive they find that their aunt has passed away and their uncle, Tinsley, is living the life of a hermit. Tinsley does however welcome the girls and allows them to stay until their mother can reclaim them. When Charlotte doesn’t appear, the girls enter school in the same hometown that their mother was so desperate to leave. Byler is a mill town and seems somewhat trapped in another decade but change is inevitably coming to town. When the girls take on the town bully the darker side of humanity is revealed and Bean gets an education she could not have imagined. Walls captures the issues of the southern mill town in at the beginning of the 1970s complete with racial tensions, forced integration, and the beginning of deindustrialization. While the issues that Walls raises are interesting and deftly presented it is her gift for characterization that really makes The Silver Star a sensational novel.

  • Paul
    2018-10-12 04:19

    Author Jeannette Walls spun a stunning account of a heart-wrenching, dysfunctional family. In this character-driven tale, she left no stones unturned with clear, concise writing that had adhered to the storyline. Adequate time had been devoted to the reader with the introduction of the cast as they were presented, one by one, and in turn invoked a level of comfort and familiarity with each character. The sometimes dreaded belly of the book, in this case, was not filled with useless digressions for the sake of filling empty space. Happily, the storyline remained strong, significant and on point - everything I could ask for. This book hit on all cylinders earning a reputable five stars.Jean, nicknamed "Bean" and older sister Liz aged 12 and 15 years, respectively, were the main protagonists of the story. From an early age they had learned to rely solely upon themselves. Their principal and only caregiver, their mother, was usually gallivanting around the country on meaningless missions always destined to end in sorrow. A father figure had never been part of their family of three.The girl's journey first began from the city of Lost Lake in the desert of Southern California.Their absentee mother, Charlotte, had disappeared, again in search of an elusive dream she could never quite wrap her head around. As usual, the sisters had to fend for themselves. Only this time with money and food running out and no word from their mother, they had to come up with a plan. They had to survive; and so they did. Having packed a suitcase of few personal belongings, they jumped on the dog bus headed east. Without having provided advance notice, they wound up on the front porch steps of their Uncle Tinsley in Virginia whom they hadn't seen since they were toddlers. There had been no one else to turn to. Lucky for them their uncle had a heart of gold.Weeks later their mother showed up on their doorstep and took her daughters for an adventure to New York City in her usual willy-nilly fashion. They never made it. No surprise there. The deck had been stacked against them from the very start. Once again their mom had deserted them, this time stranded in some hotel. Thankfully, dependable Uncle Tinsley had come to the rescue. He brought them back to his home. For the first time in their short lives, they actually had someone who wasn't always leaving them, someone who actually cared. Yet, they wondered how long would it last. When would their mother return and take them once again on another endless adventure to nowhere only to be deserted again. They couldn't continue on like that anymore. It was time to take a stand. Actually, it was time for a life.

  • Kala
    2018-10-08 06:17

    "Don't be afraid of your dark places. If you can shine a light on them, you'll find treasure there."

  • Karen
    2018-10-06 06:03

    Jeannette Walls has not disappointed me yet. I flew through her newest novel,The Silver Starin a little less than a day, gobbling up the story of twelve-year-old "Bean," and wishing for more. In the hands of another writer, this novel would have been run of the mill, bordering on schmaltzy. The story isn't overly original--two sisters must raise themselves because their artistic mother is unstable and unreliable--but Walls nails it. After their mother abandons them for about a month, the sisters avoid the cops nosing around by taking a bus to the family they've never met in Virginia. There they discover their Uncle Tinsley, the last of a line of cotton mill heirs greatly fallen from wealth, who raises them until their mother pops back in from her many wanderings. It's the early 1970s in a small town where racial divisions are still intense and poverty strikes (but does not unite) the majority of the population. As Bean starts to fit in, her more artistic and beloved older sister, Liz, begins to take on more and more of their mother's unstable traits. After both girls start working for the local mill boss--a pig of a man whom Walls brings to life perfectly--things go from bad to worse for Liz. Bean's ideas of justice are tested as the reality of class differences makes itself known in ugly, painful and very public ways as the novel winds to its conclusion. Bean's heart and humor carry this novel. Ugly things are not shied away from but beauty is found in unexpected places. Somehow Walls carries it off. Bean carries it off. Despite the ugliness of race and class divisions, most of this book will make the reader smile. Very unexpected. Very enjoyable.

  • Sandy
    2018-10-19 04:25

    Twelve-year-old Bean (nickname for Jean) and her older sister Liz have been abandoned by their mother. She’s often left before, but this time, the girls don’t know when she might return and the officials are starting to snoop around, getting tipped off that the children are unsupervised. This dysfunctional single-parent family is surviving because of the resilience of the children. They take it upon themselves to head to the only family they know exists – their uncle who lives on the other side of the country. Fitting in in a depressed small Virginia town isn’t easy for these California kids. Their Uncle Tinsley is not thrilled to have them appear out of the blue and yet this solitary widower takes them in and looks out for them. Besides crafting strong characters, Walls tackles real issues of the Vietnam era – racial integration, bullying, sexual harassment and the economic decline of a town. She masterfully creates a world where the people are scrapping by despite being beaten down and losing those things they were raised to value. Similar to Walls memoir, Bean manages to stay true to her moral compass and demonstrates a resiliency well beyond her 12 years. This book hits all the right notes and highlights the strength of the human heart amid ugliness and meanness.

  • Taylor
    2018-10-13 23:12

    I listened to the audiobook version, read by the author, so my response is as much about the performance as about the story. Overall it seems like Walls was trying to hard to force a story, using bits and pieces from other successful books that deal with the same topic- children abandoned by their parents, either literally or emotionally. The sisters seem like promising characters, but they (and the rest of the characters) are made more of cliches than of lifelike, compelling complexity. The people in the Virginia town the girls travel to are caricatures of Southern country folk. Walls didn't get the voice or perspective of a 12-year-old correct. Many YA novels do this exceedingly well. I listen to several audiobooks a week on my commute, and this reading was lackluster at best and didn't do the story any favors. Sometimes a good reader can rescue a so-so story by elevating and dignifying it, but Walls' reading only served to highlight the weak writing. It felt like I was being read to by a well-meaning but unpracticed volunteer, not a professional reader. There are many books that address this topic much better- Dicey's Song, To Kill a Mockingbird, to name just 2.

  • Marschel Paul
    2018-10-12 02:20

    I love Jeannette Walls! I loved The Glass Castle especially and heard her speak about her life and the memoir recently. She is on a book tour for The Silver Star but interestingly did not read from the new book. Talk about a teaser presentation! But she was inspiring and incredibly honest about everything she touched upon.I had fun with The Silver Star. I wanted to love it love it love it at the 5 star level but couldn't quite get there. I think Walls may have been struggling a little bit with jumping off into the ocean of fiction. I found her propensity to summarize via the viewpoint of Bean over-used. It isn't a long book so I don't think there was any need to take us out of live scene quite so much to tidy things up and move us along. By far, the best parts of the story are live events such as trying to rope the emus, which become the symbols of being lost, then adopted, then lost, then regained.Even with the things I can find that are not perfect, I enjoyed the journey of the two girls.

  • Jennifer
    2018-10-04 03:11

    this was such a quick read!After loving The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (it may be my favorite book ever), I was really looking forward to this one. I was a bit disappointed, but I was also not expecting to love this book as I knew my expectations were too high going into it.In many aspects, it was very similar to The Glass Castle. Similar themes were discussed, and Bean was very similar to Jeannette. The mothers in both books were also both very similar in their parenting styles, or lack thereof. The plot of this book fell a bit flat for me near the end. It wrapped up really quickly and I wasn't sure how to take it. However, something I really loved about this book was the trial that takes place.While this book wasn't as good as The Glass Castle, I still really enjoyed it!

  • Betsy
    2018-10-07 06:04

    Let me disclaim that it was pretty impossible that The Silver Star was ever going to reach the expectations I had set for it in advance. I loved the Glass Castle so much that when a pre-press copy of The Silver Star came through my office, I snatched it up before anyone had a chance to lay their eyes on it. The premise was good enough, but I just kept waiting for it to get good. I liked the characters and story enough, but it was lacking in the "can't put this down" writing I came to expect from Ms. Walls. Long story short, it's an okay read, but nothing to write home about.

  • Thomas W.
    2018-10-12 04:16

    The Silver Star was an easy read. Like all three Wall's books, a look at dysfunctional family relationships (whose family isn't) with an off-kilter mom. While this was another insightful look into mother - daughter complexities, it lacked some of the character depth that was so compelling in the previous two. It was somewhat predictable, a little disappointing, but I still love her writing. She can do no wrong in IMHO.