The Silver Star: A Novel by Jeannette WallsThe Silver Star: A Novel by Jeannette Walls

The Silver Star: A Novel

byJeannette Walls

Hardcover | June 11, 2013

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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 But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn.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.
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 Yor...
Title:The Silver Star: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.2 inPublished:June 11, 2013Publisher:ScribnerLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1451661509

ISBN - 13:9781451661507

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Wow, what a fantastic read.
Date published: 2017-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book! This is another great book by Jeannette Walls. Well worth the read. You finish it like all the others, with wanting more!
Date published: 2017-09-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it Read the glass castle and loved it so decided to try this one, just as amazing
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Silver Star This is another wonderful read by this author. I have enjoyed all her books...well worth a read.
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it It was surprisingly funny and just an overall great book
Date published: 2017-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A cute little novel This novel will take no time at all to read. It is very interesting, and the author does a great job keeping you captivated. The book is a rather simple novel, and fairly straightforward which makes it an each read if you are on the beach, on an airplane, or simply looking for a quick afternoon read. The two main characters in the story are very entertaining girls, which makes the story very funny and enjoyable.
Date published: 2017-08-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! I enjoyed this book - it kept me interested.
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining! I've read all of Walls books, this was yet another entertaining read on her upbringing.
Date published: 2017-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Jeannette Walls does not disapoint She is a great story teller and these tales of family dynamics are entrancing. Love all her books and this one is no different.
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Stellar Read I'm a huge fan of Jeannette Walls, so I had high hopes before reading this book. It was a fantastic read, transporting you back decades ago. It's a raw story, nothing less than what you'd expect from a Walls book. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great enjoyed this book, but not as much as her other book, the glass castle
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Quick Read I didn't like this book as much as her others, but it's still worth a read if you're looking for something quick and easy.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Read!! I picked this book up Saturday just to have something to read while I was sitting outside - I couldn't put the book down! Great easy read! I recommend this book to everyone!
Date published: 2016-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Jeannette Walls Writing Style Jeannette Walls is a great story teller. The Silver Star did not disappoint; I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2015-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Silver Star Loved this story. This has so many life lessons throughout it. An enjoyable read. Five Star for Silver Star!
Date published: 2015-08-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read Story of 2 young girls, with a dysfunctional mother. Together they overcome several hardships and difficult situations.
Date published: 2015-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Silver Star I have read all of the author's books and I love how she writes about ordinary, simple people trying to get by in life. This book is about two girls, their mother and extended family. They have hardships but continue to see happiness in a simple way.
Date published: 2015-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from silver star I love everything I've read written by Jeannette Walls! I can't put her books down. She gives everyone inspiration to write their own story, as everyone has their own story... Life is not fair sometimes.
Date published: 2015-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Silver Star If you are 60+ and lived the hippy years, if you always regretted not being old enough to go to Woodstock, then you will love this book!
Date published: 2015-01-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good! I liked Jeannette Walls other 2 books and this one was a great read too. Would recommend this book to friends.
Date published: 2015-01-02
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 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, but not as good as The Glass Castle Twelve-year-old Bean and her fifteen-year-old sister, Liz, are deserted by their mom who claims she needs to find herself. When the police start looking into the situation, the sisters decide to go and live with their uncle—unbeknownst to him—in a dilapidated mansion in Virginia. Bean embraces the adventure and starts to learn more about her father, while Liz begins to withdraw. Here’s a story about the bonds of family, and the pain of desertion and adolescence. Although I liked the novel, the situation and the mom reminded me too much of Walls’ The Glass Castle.
Date published: 2014-11-01
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 5 out of 5 by from Great Read Loved it! I could barely put it down. If you liked The Glass House, you will love this book.
Date published: 2014-07-19
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 Great read Loved the characters! Disappointed that it ended.
Date published: 2014-07-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great read Loved the characters! Disappointed that it ended.
Date published: 2014-07-14
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 The Silver Star Charming story,lotts of feelings called forward,a real good family tale.
Date published: 2014-03-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Silver Star Very easy read. Those two girls were unlucky on many fronts but so lucky to have each other. Loved it!
Date published: 2014-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Silver Star A great, easy read. Ms. Walls books always bring a feeling of nostalgia along with them. They tend to take me back in a good way. I only wish she had more novels written. I can't wait for her next one already!
Date published: 2014-01-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good story... A pretty good and very easy read, however it doesn't come close to Walls' other books. My favourite by far would be The Glass Castle, followed by Half Broke Horses. This one I found a bit hokey for my liking...
Date published: 2014-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Silver star Awesome book, recommend it.
Date published: 2013-12-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A wonderful story This is a tug at your heart strings kinda story, but not in an overly mushy way. The main character is a girl you can't help but really like. You are rooting for her through the whole book. A fun and sometimes heartbreaking story. Made me realize I should think twice about the challenges people may be facing in life.
Date published: 2013-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from THE SILVER STAR Love this book, have read her other two novels and love them too. You cannot put them down, you always want to know what happens next. Jeanette has a way with story telling, can't wait for the next one. Enjoy this read.
Date published: 2013-10-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great story. Writing pulls you along Loved her first two books and this is a pleasant and inspiring follow up. Another great continuation of the themes of her non-fiction books. No matter what you've come from - it's within you to do your best and make great things happen in your life. Loved it.
Date published: 2013-10-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Two sisters against the odds Amazing what these two girls go through and the people - who they discover - who love and support them. And their mom! She's a mess! A quick read with short chapters that you'll find yourself saying, "ok, I'll read just one more chapter." Then 10 chapters later you can't put it down. Very heartwarming.
Date published: 2013-10-18
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

Read from the Book

CHAPTER FIVEThe 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.“Have a seat over there.” He pointed to some rusty cast-iron lawn furniture.A few minutes later, he came out carrying that same silver tray, loaded up with a stack of toast and three plates that each had a poached egg in the center. The plates had gold curlicues around the rim, but the edges were chipped. I picked up a corner of my egg and scooted a piece of toast under it, then stabbed the yolk with my fork, chopped up the white part of the egg, and mushed it all together.“Bean always mutilates her food,” Liz told Uncle Tinsley. “It’s disgusting.”“It tastes better mixed up,” I said. “But that’s not the only reason. First of all, you don’t have to take as many bites, so it saves time. Second, you don’t have to work as hard chewing, because if it’s all mushed up, it’s sort of prechewed. Finally, food gets all mixed up in your stomach anyway, so that’s obviously the way it was meant to be.”Uncle Tinsley gave a little chuckle and turned to Liz. “Is she always like this?”“Oh, yeah,” Liz said. “She’s the Beanhead.”We offered to wash the dishes, but Uncle Tinsley insisted it was easier if he did them himself, without a couple of kids underfoot. He told us to go off and do whatever girls our age did.Liz and I walked around to the front of the house, where there were two big trees with shiny dark leaves and big white flowers.  Beyond them, on the far side of the lawn, was a row of huge green bushes with a gap in the middle. We walked through the gap and found ourselves in an area surrounded by the dark green bushes. A few tough irises pushed up through the weeds in old, overgrown flower beds. In the center was a round brick-edged pond. It was full of dead leaves, but in the water beneath, I saw a flash of brilliant orange.“Fish!” I yelled. “Goldfish! There’s goldfish in this pond!”We knelt and studied the orange fish fluttering in and out of the shadows beneath the clumps of dead leaves. I decided this would be a great place for Fido to have a swim. The poor turtle had to be feeling cooped up after all that time in his box.I ran back to the barn, but when I opened the Tupperware, Fido was floating in the water. He’d seemed fine when I fed him earlier. I set him down on the tabletop, scooting him along with my finger, trying to jump-start him, even though I knew it was hopeless. Fido was dead, and it was all my fault. I had thought I could protect Fido and take care of him, but that bus trip had been too much for the poor little guy. He’d have been better off if I’d left him in Lost Lake.I put Fido back in the Tupperware dish and carried him out to the pond. Liz put an arm around me and said we needed to askUncle Tinsley where to bury him.Uncle Tinsley was still puttering in the kitchen when we knocked.“I thought the two of you were going to go off and play,” he said.“Fido died,” I said.Uncle Tinsley glanced at Liz.“Bean’s turtle,” she said.“We need to know where to bury him,” I said. Uncle Tinsley stepped out of the house and closed the door behind him. I handed him the Tupperware dish, and he looked down at Fido. “We bury all the family pets in the family cemetery,” he said. He led us back to the barn, where he picked up a shovel with a long wooden handle, then we all headed up the hill behind it.“Fido’s a peculiar name for a turtle,” he said as we walked along.“Bean really wanted a dog,” Liz said, explaining how Mom had told us it was always the kids who wanted the pet but the mother who ended up taking care of it, and she had no interest in walking and cleaning up after a dog. So she’d bought me a turtle.“Fido means ‘I am faithful,’ ” I said. “Fido was a very faithful turtle.”“I bet he was,” Uncle Tinsley said.Beyond the barn were a bunch of dilapidated wooden buildings. Uncle Tinsley pointed out the smokehouse, the milking shed and the foaling shed, the henhouse, the icehouse, and the springhouse, explaining that Mayfield used to be a real working farm, though hands did most of the work. He still had all 205 acres, including a stretch of woods, as well as the big hay field where the cemetery was. These days, a farmer up the road, Mr. Muncie, hayed the field and gave Uncle Tinsley eggs and vegetables in return.We passed through an orchard, Uncle Tinsley showing us the apple, peach, and cherry trees, and out into a large pasture. At the top of the pasture, a cluster of trees shaded the family cemetery, which was surrounded by a rusting wrought-iron fence. The cemetery was weedy, and a number of the weathered old headstones had toppled over. Uncle Tinsley led us to one well-tended grave with a newish headstone. This was Martha’s, he said, with a vacant spot next to it for him when the time came.The pets, he explained, were buried around the perimeter, near their owners. “Let’s put Fido near Martha,” Uncle Tinsley said. “I think she would have liked him.”Uncle Tinsley dug a small hole, and I placed Fido in it, using the Tupperware dish as his coffin. I found a nice piece of white quartz for a headstone. Uncle Tinsley gave a short eulogy. Fido had been a brave and indeed a faithful turtle, he said, who had made the long and perilous journey from California in order to serve as a guardian for his two sister-owners. Once he’d gotten them safely to Virginia, Fido’s job was over, and he felt free to leave them for that secret island in the middle of the ocean that is turtle heaven. The eulogy made me feel a lot better about both Fido and Uncle Tinsley. On the way back down the hill, I asked about the goldfish we’d found in the pond. “The fish are koi,” Uncle Tinsley said. “That was Mother’s garden. One of the finest private gardens in all of Virginia, back in the day. Mother won prizes for it. She was the envy of every lady in the garden club.”We swung around the barn and the big white house came into view. I started telling Uncle Tinsley about my house dream and how, when we first arrived at Mayfield, I realized it was the actual house in the dream.Uncle Tinsley became thoughtful. He rested the shovel against an old water trough in front of the barn. “I guess you’d better see the inside of the house, then,” he said. “Just to make sure.”We followed Uncle Tinsley up the big porch steps. He took a deep breath and opened the door.The front hall was large and dark, with a lot of wooden cabinets that had glass doors. Everything was a mess. Newspapers, magazines, books, and mail were stacked high on the tables and the floor, alongside boxes of rocks and bottles filled with dirt and sand and liquids.“It may look a tad cluttered,” he said, “but that’s because I’m in the middle of reorganizing everything.”“It’s not so bad,” Liz said. “It just needs a little tidying up.”“We can help,” I said.“Oh, no. Everything’s under control. Everything has its place, and I know where everything is.”Uncle Tinsley showed us the parlor, the dining room, and the ballroom. Oil paintings hung crooked on the walls and a few were falling out of their frames. The Persian carpets were worn and frayed, the silk curtains were faded and torn, and the stained wallpaper was peeling away from the walls. A grand piano covered with a dark green velvet cloth stood in the big ballroom with the French doors. There was all this stuff piled on every available surface— more stacks of paper and notebooks, antique binoculars, pendulum clocks, rolled-up maps, stacks of chipped china, old pistols, ships in bottles, statues of rearing horses, framed photographs, and all these little wooden boxes, one filled with coins, another with buttons, another with old medals. Everything was coated with a thick layer of dust.“There sure is a ton of stuff in here,” I said.“Yes, but every single thing you see has value,” Uncle Tinsley said. “If you have the brains to appreciate it.”He led us up a curving staircase and down a long hall. At the end of the hall, he stopped in front of a pair of doors that faced each other. Both had brass door knockers shaped like birds. “This is the bird wing,” Uncle Tinsley told us. “This is where you’ll stay. Until your mother comes to pick you up.”“We’re not sleeping in the barn anymore?” I asked.“Not without Fido there to protect you.”Uncle Tinsley opened the doors. We each had our own room, he told us. Both were wallpapered with bird motifs—common birds, like robins and cardinals, and exotic birds, like cockatiels and flamingos. The bird wing, he explained, had been designed for his twin aunts, who were little girls when the house was built. They had loved birds and kept a big Victorian birdhouse full of different kinds of finches.“Where was Mom’s room?” I asked.“She never mentioned it?” he asked. “The whole bird wing was hers.” He pointed through the door of one room. “When she brought you back from the hospital after you were born, she put you in that cradle in the corner there.”I looked over at the cradle. It was small and white and made of wicker, and I couldn’t understand quite why, but it made me feel very safe.

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.”