Posted in 5 paws, Book Club, fiction on January 6, 2014

This month’s book club book was The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls.  It is a fiction book but some have said that it sounds somewhat like her life.  I haven’t read her other books, so do not know if that is true or not.

 silver star


The Silver Star, Jeannette Walls has written a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about an intrepid girl who challenges the injustice of the adult world, a triumph of imagination and storytelling.

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 But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn.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 really enjoyed this book. I didn’t realize it was set in the late 60’s/early 70’s when I first started reading the book (not sure why!) but I don’t think that really matters other than times were different then.  The book brought out a wide variety of emotions which is always the sign of a good book to me.  I felt for Bean and Liz and what they went through and how fast they had to grow up with a mother like theirs.  But I think meeting their Uncle actually helped them and him move forward with their lives.

I knew something was up with the character Maddox and have to say he got what was coming to him.  He was definitely slimy and not a person that anyone should have to deal with in their lives.

I thought the story was well written and the characters seemed so real, like someone I might have known growing up.  We give this book 5 paws!


About the Author

Jeannette Walls is a writer and journalist. She was born in Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated with honors from Barnard College, the women’s college affiliated with Columbia University. She published a bestselling memoir, The Glass Castle, in 2005. The book is being made into a film by Paramount.

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