The Silver Star: A Novel

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The Silver Star: A Novel

by Jeannette Walls

Scribner | June 11, 2013 | Hardcover

The Silver Star: A Novel is rated 3.7143 out of 5 by 7.
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 But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn.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.

Jeannette Walls, supremely alert to abuse of adult power, 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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 288 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.2 in

Published: June 11, 2013

Publisher: Scribner

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1451661509

ISBN - 13: 9781451661507

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, easy read It was a light and easy read. I really like that the chapters were so short and the story was very easy to get into. While it's not one of my top 10 books of all time, I did enjoy it. I really appreciated the fact that we got to see the two characters grow and while we all assume that the older sister is and always will be the "mature" one it was nice to see the roles reverse during the story as the characters battled their demons. I felt like it reflected life more accurately this way. I also liked the way that the story ended because it reflects the battle between modern and traditional...in this case Bean was able to accept and embrace a more traditional approach to solving a problem and she was able to appreciate the value that "old" and "simple ways" has to offer.
Date published: 2014-11-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good read I enjoyed this book and read it quite quickly. I do like the way the sister looked out for each other as their mother, the one adult in their life just could not get it together to do so. It was good that the girls had each other and other adults to talk and go to when they needed them. To me it was a definite coming of age book and the characters all had their flaws, strengths and needs. They all were looking for acceptance ....of themselves and to their loved ones
Date published: 2014-08-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It was just okay I bought this book because I loved the Glass Castle. Obviously this is not a memoir so I was not expecting that, however I was disappointed in this book. I did like the characters but was left wanting more. I felt that some of the characters in the book were left undeveloped and those were the ones that I wanted to see more about. I found this the type of book that is an easy read but I was un involved and had a hard time finishing it. I did like the relationship between the sisters and their mother and would have preferred to see that storey evolve, the uncle relationship was awkward and the story line about the birds was not a realistic fit,I am sure that the author was making an attempt to create some metaphor in using the emu but I did not get it. I was left wanting more. I do feel that this author is an excellent descriptive author.
Date published: 2014-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lovely Story The characters are adorable and believable, and it is a great coming of age story.
Date published: 2014-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well, I loved it Oh, I have to say right up front that I loved Jeanette Walls's latest book The Silver Star. Walls is a consummate raconteur, as evidenced by her best selling memoirs The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses. Although The Silver Star is fiction, I could see pieces that may have been gleaned from Walls' past as well. 1970. California. Twelve year old Bean Holladay and her fifteen year old sister Liz are used to their mother Charlotte leaving them on them on their own for a few days. She always stocks up on chicken pot pies - enough to last them 'til she returns. But this time is different - she leaves them with money to last a month - or two if they're careful. When the money runs out and she still hasn't returned, the girls decide to make their way to their mother's hometown - to a place they don't know and to relatives they've never met. I fell in love with Bean right from the get go. Her curiosity, her forthrightness, her loyalty to those she loves, her devotion to her sister Liz and her resilience all endeared her to me. To Kill a Mockingbird is referenced in the book and Scout was brought to mind when I thought of Bean. Liz is just as well drawn, but on a quieter scale. She's the one who ensures they go to school, that they have meals together, that protects Bean from realizing their plight is more desperate than she lets on. I had been racing through the book, I was so caught up in the girls' story. But, their arrival in Virginia had me putting the book down and stepping away. I just knew 'something' was going to happen and I wasn't sure if I wanted to know what that was yet, although I had a pretty good idea. I waited a few days and picked up the book again, when I knew I had time to read right through to the end. (Although I must admit - I had to sneak a peek a few chapters ahead, then go back) And yes, something does happen and it shapes and redefines Liz and Bean's lives as well as those of their new found family. Childhood is left behind in this coming of age story. But much is gained as well.... There isn't a problem distinguishing who is 'bad' and who is 'good' in this book. The extended family that Liz and Bean find are wonderfully warm and eccentric. While I was thinking good and bad, I sat and thought about Charlotte. I'm not sure she can be defined as one or the other. My opinion on her sits firmly in the middle. I'm curious as to what others thought about her. Walls touches on many familiar issues and themes in The Silver Star - mental illness, dysfunctional relationships, racial integration, bullying, poverty and so much more. And has woven them into yet another riveting read.
Date published: 2013-08-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a good believable story and characters- except it's not a memoir if you have read the infamous best seller the glass castle than you are in love with walls's writing. i absolutely loved her 2 books. now this new book is not a memoir as per TGC, but reading this you would have actually thought she was recollecting on her childhood. that is how realistic it is. the main character and narrator is 12 years old Bean, who you will be cheering for 100% of the way. Both neglected by parent, strong and dependent relationship with sibling, growing up, family, finding their true selves and how adults truly can be. all these themes are in TGC. You can tell Wells draw upon her own experiences to create this story, which makes it more realistic. Because Wells is an expert in these situations. Any way this had a great starting all the way to the last 20 pages. I thought Walls rushed the ending. It resolved everything and it was a happy ending, but it seemed what she used as the girls happy ending parallel with birds was awkward. Or maybe I didn't quite grasp the picture. Because I didn't love the ending and it didn't do too much for me I gave it a 4/5. Also was not as humorous as TGC. After TGC you cannot top that. Good book! a great summer read (or anytime read). You'll enjoy it.
Date published: 2013-08-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Adventurous Story! Story Description: Scribner|June 11, 2013|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-4516-6150-7 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 the girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and see 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, a 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. Jeannette Walls, supremely alert to abuse of adult power, 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. My Review: Twelve-year-old, Bean and fifteen-year-old, Liz live in Lost Lake, a little town in the Colorado Desert of Southern California where they’ve lived for the past four months. Their mother, Charlotte had been gone now for four days off in Los Angeles auditioning for a job as a back-up singer. The girls were used to being on their own as their mother often was away, her career took up a sizable amount of her time. Liz being the older of the two girls was in charge but Bean didn’t mind one bit as she was the type of girl who didn’t want to be babied. When their mother was away, all they ever ate was chicken pot pies. Bean didn’t mind because she loved the difference between the crusty crust on the outside and the warm goopy filling on the inside. And, Liz said if you had a glass of milk with one then you were getting all four food groups – meat, vegetables, grain, and dairy. Their mother finally arrived home telling the girl she met a man named, Mark Parker who told her she never got any jobs as a back-up singer because her voice was so distinctive that she was upstaging the stars. At age thirty-six she had never yet had a gig or made a recording, but Mark said he was going to “jump-start” her career. Since she’d never had a job, they lived on her inheritance but they were on a tight budget as the money was running low. However, it didn’t take long for, Bean to figure out that her mother way lying. She had made up the whole Mark Parker scenario and when Bean confronted her, Charlotte began yelling and spewing all sorts of hurtful comments, including telling, Bean that she was sorry she’d ever had her, that she was a mistake. She then picked up her purse and sped away in her car. The girls had been waiting for, Charlotte to return but she didn’t, instead they received a letter in the mail containing two-hundred dollars and a note telling them she needed “space” for herself. After two weeks money was running short so Liz did some babysitting and Bean delivered a newspaper. They continued to buy their chicken pot pies. Liz and Bean began to worry about CPS or some other agency getting involved and putting them in foster care. Charlotte had originally come from a small town in Virginia called, Byler where her father had owned a cotton mill. Their Mom’s brother, Uncle Tinsley still lived in Byler in a big old house called, Mayfield. One day, Bean arrived home from school to find cop cars outside the house and a cop looking through the window. She turned around and ran all the way to Liz’s high school and waited for her to come out. Liz decided they had better head to Virginia right away. She always carried their money in the lining of her shoe so the two girls ran off to the bus depot and bought two cross-country tickets. They were on their way and on the adventure of their lives. The Silver Star, pulled me in from the very first page and I didn’t quit until I’d turned the last. It was a fast-paced, easy to read story that kept my attention through every single word. I read the book in one sitting as I just couldn’t put it down. The only negative I have about this book is that it ended way too abruptly. I was reading along, turned the page to read more but there wasn’t anymore, it was the end of the story. I felt as though the book didn’t end properly. Other than that, I would highly recommend this book to anyone, Jeannette Walls certainly has a very creative imagination and writes an entertaining novel.
Date published: 2013-06-27

– More About This Product –

The Silver Star: A Novel

by Jeannette Walls

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 288 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.2 in

Published: June 11, 2013

Publisher: Scribner

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1451661509

ISBN - 13: 9781451661507

About the Book

From one of the bestselling memoirists of all time comes a stunning and heartbreaking novel about an intrepid girl who challenges the injustice of the adult world in a triumph of imagination and storytelling.

Read from the Book

CHAPTER FIVE The birds woke me early the next morning. I had never heard such noisy birds. I went to the window, and they were everywhere—in the trees right outside, on the ground, swooping in and out of the barn like they owned the place, all the different chirps and tweets and warbling making this incredible commotion. Liz and I got dressed and walked down to the house. When we knocked on the front door, there was no answer, so we went around to the back. Through a window, we could see Uncle Tinsley moving around inside the kitchen. Liz rapped on the windowpane, and Uncle Tinsley opened the door but blocked it like he had the night before. He had shaved, his wet hair was combed, the part was straight, and instead of his bathrobe, he was wearing gray trousers and a light blue shirt with TMH monogrammed on the pocket. “How did you girls sleep?” he asked. “Just fine,” Liz said. “The birds sure are noisy,” I said. “I don’t use pesticides, so the birds love it around here,” Uncle Tinsley said. “Did Mom call, by any chance?” Liz asked. “Afraid not.” “She does have the number, right?” I asked. “This number hasn’t changed since we got it—two, four, six, eight,” he said. “First phone number handed out in Byler, so we got to choose it. Speaking of choosing, how do you like your poached eggs?” “Hard!” I said. “Soft,” Liz said. R
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From the Publisher

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.

Jeannette Walls, supremely alert to abuse of adult power, 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.

About the Author

Jeannette Walls was born in Phoenix, Arizona on April 21, 1960. She graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York City for twenty years. Her books include her memoir entitled,The Glass Castle and a fiction novel based on her grandmother entitled, Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel. Walls has also written for New York Magazine, Esquire and USA Today. She lives in Manhattan with ther husband, journalist John J. Taylor.

Editorial Reviews

“By turns witty, warm and provocative, this all ages read by the author of The Glass Castle is a perfect choice for your high school mother-daughter book club or to throw in your beach bag this summer.”