The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls -- A Fabulous Novel By the Author of the Memoir The Glass Castle
If you've read The Glass Castle or Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls, you'll know why I loved her new novel, The Silver Star. Walls is an amazing storyteller and writer who takes you along on her tale.
The Silver Star is set in 1970 and begins in a small town in California. Two sisters, Liz and Bean (her name is Jean but Bean's her nickname) Holladay, live with their mother Charlotte, that is when their mom happens to be around.
The girls often fend for themselves while their mother leaves to go to Los Angeles to audition for singing gigs. On one occasion, Bean, who narrates the story, and Liz decide it's time to get out of Dodge when the cops show up at their house after an extended time with their mom away.
The girls hop a bus to Virginia where their mother is from and the majority of the story unfolds there. They show up unannounced at their bachelor uncle's house where their mother was raised and the ensuing days include a new kind of strange life that includes eating lots of venison stew (from the deer their uncle shoots when the meat runs low in the freezer) and tidying up a family home that has become cluttered and dirty from years of neglect.
Charlotte finally returns to her California home to find the cryptic note the girls left her of their whereabouts and comes to Virginia to get them. Unable to handle the house or the small town where she was raised, Charlotte soon flees to New York alone.
When the girls take a job with a local family to earn extra money, they are warned not to associate with the man they are working for. Liz is involved in an incident that brings their missing mother back. The end of the story is surprising, and the entire book makes me want to pick it up and read it again.
"I think Mom believes it,
but that doesn't mean it's true.
Maybe she just needed someone to blame
for the way everything turned out.
Maybe something happened and
she blew it out of proportion.
Or maybe it's true. I don't think we'll ever know."
~ Liz Holladay, from The Silver Star
The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses
Looking for more great books? The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses, also by Jeannette Walls, are wonderful books.
The Glass Castle is a memoir and Half Broke Horses is a fictionalized memoir (creative non-fiction book).
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
And if you like Walls' style of writing, I'd also recommend Wild by Cheryl Strayed.