Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book Review: The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

The 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. (Goodreads)

When The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls came out many years ago, it hit the bookselling world like a ton of bricks. EVERYONE was reading and recommending it. It was a book that you just told everyone to read. The writing was raw, powerful and endearing. The storyline was impossible to relate to but you cared so deeply for everyone involved, you just couldn't put it down. 

I missed her follow up Half Broke Horses simply out of sheer neglect on my part, not because it didn't sound wonderful. I am very pleased with myself that I got around to reading The Silver Star, her third book due out in June. I even made it before it was released. 

The Silver Star is different than her first two because it is an honest to goodness novel, where as Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses were about her own family and fell into that memoir category.

I picked this one up on Mother's Day morning because I was given the luxury of "sleeping in", having my coffee in bed and reading (what?!) all morning. This doesn't happen EVER in my house. EVER. I went with it. I was able to read half of the book just in that day. It was the perfect pick because it lured me in from the get go. 

Walls has such a simplistic, straightforward delivery, that it's almost impossible to realize how much emotion you are really being handed until you are done with it. I was amazed at myself for how much I cared for these two girls, Bean and Liz. I wanted to take them home with me and throw their kooky mother to the wind. 

Overall, it is not an original story. 2 sisters forced to fend for themselves because mother is unable to for whatever reason. They come up against hard times but are savvy enough to get by. But the way in which they stumble along is endearing and honest and with that came something unique.

The only issue I had with it was the ending. The climax of the book came closer to the end and it didn't get wrapped up as well as I hoped it would. There were some questions left unanswered and it seemed a bit too simple.

I still recommend it, especially for book clubs. There is much to discuss from the role of a parent and life in the South.  I think fans of her earlier work will enjoy this one as well. Honest writing and endearing characters will pull readers in.

Very excited to go and see her speak at Common Good Books in St. Paul, MN in June with my friend Rachell. 

Author Page:

Release Date:
June 11, 2013

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child



Marce said...

I am happy to see her books success. I loved Glass Castle but like you haven't goto the other yet but I do have it.

I like the sound of this one.

Yaaaay for a great sleep in reading Mothers Day :-)

Shelley said...

I just recently finished The Glass Castle, but I got the idea that Half Broke Horses was not as good. I like the idea of this third one being a novel rather than a memoir. I'll be on the lookout for it it June!

Lisa said...

Sounds like Walls has taken elements of her own family life and blended them into a wonderful novel. I'll definitely be picking this one up!

christa @ mental foodie said...

She's one of my fav authors and I can't wait to read this one!

I waited a long time to read Half Broke Horses because the book title and the premise didn't really appeal to me... but when I finally read it, I wondered why I waited so long.. I still like Glass Castle better, but her writing is just as engaging and just drew me in... and like you, before I knew it, I was half way through!

Becca said...

I loved The Glass Castle, but, like you, haven't read Half-Broke Horses yet. I was curious to see how a novel by her would be. Sorry to hear it wasn't as impressive, but I guess this is her debut novel. I might wait for my library to get this one in.