This week, I thought I’d follow up on last week’s post with another book by Jeanette Walls. I was such a fan of her auto-biography, that I thought any following fiction book might be just as good. To my disappointment, “The Silver Star” didn’t own up to it’s non-fiction predecessor.
This was my first ever “listened to” book. And boy, did I love Audible! Made a 4 hour car drive totally fly by. If I had been reading this with the book in my hands, I don’t know if I would have gotten through it. Listening, however, I was pretty captivated. Though the story wasn’t incredible, the characters weren’t groundbreaking, I was still hooked until the end.
“The Silver Star” follows Bean (Jean) and her older sister, Liz, as they cope with their flighty mother, their hermit uncle, and getting to know the town their family hails from in their late adolescence. Bean is a semi-likeable twelve year old with an attitude and deep love for her older sister. The book opens with their theatrical mother’s various antics, and follows up with her abandoning them for an unknown amount of time. They decide to return to their mother’s hometown and stay with family. Bean uncovers mysteries regarding her lost father, they begin working for the town company’s foreman….who is a total dick!
The issues I have with this book vary. The biggest being the lack of payoff in potentially interesting story leads……integration in their high school, a side story about her cousin in Vietnam, the possibility of both Liz and her mother suffering from a mental disorder….and the author instead focuses on the anticlimactic trial and then dedicates chapters to the care of emus. That’s right. EMUS.
The story flows pretty well, and is nicely paced, but it lacks a certain visual element I truly love about literature. I expect if you like plays, or movies, more than books, this might be the story for you. Walls has another novel, called “Half Broken Horses”, but truly, after this slight dissapointment, I don’t think I would read it. If I had read this before “Glass Castle”, I’m sure I wouldn’t have bothered with another Walls book at all! It wasn’t terrible….but it wasn’t great either.
The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls
“Don’t be afraid of your dark places,” Mom told her. “If you can shine a light on them, you’ll find treasure there.”
Best time and place to read it: driving for 4 hours on a quiet Tuesday afternoon, doing dishes, making Christmas Candy (I did exactly this.)