Books Set in the South, Coming of age, Family dynamics, Fiction, Social Commentary, Walls-Jeannette

#552 The Silver Star by Jeanette Walls

The Silver Star by Jeanette WallsThe Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

Liz and Bean’s mother is something else. She leaves for days at a time, but always leaves the girls with enough money for chicken pot pies. She has a music career, or so she says. She has a boyfriend, or does she?

When Liz and Bean guess that the boyfriend isn’t real, their mom takes off. They start running low on chicken pot pies and social services starts poking around the house. Liz and Bean know they have to leave. There is an uncle they’ve heard of who lives in Virginia. They decide to pay a visit.

The bus ride is not without incident, but the girls make it to Virginia. There they find out their family has something of a name, in fact, their family used to own the entire town, that was before things went bad at the mill. The town is small and depressed. There isn’t really anywhere for two teenage girls to find work, but the girls do find work. Their mother shows up endeavoring to take them away, but that doesn’t turn out either. The girls stay.

Bean finds out that she has cousins in the area. She finds out what happened to her father and more about his life. He was a war hero. He won a silver star. He died defending as a result of defending the honor of Bean’s mother. Bean’s cousins welcome her in and treat her like a member of the family, as if she had always been there.

Things go south with their employer. Money disappears and a court case ensues, but will the girls win?

What I liked

Jeannette can write wonderful stories. She is very gifted. Her books are the kind of books a person reads one page after the other until there’s nothing left. She is just such a good story teller.

I like that Liz and Bean won in their own way.

Jeannette does a great job of depicting a Virginia town. It had once been grand, but progress and other things brought it down to being just another southern town.

What I didn’t like

Jeannette is so good, that there isn’t a lot I didn’t like about this book. Of course there are things I can not like about the situations in the book. I don’t like the creep Liz and Bean end up working for. I don’t like the idea that an entire town can be so scared of one person that no one stands up to him, but these things happen.


Watch out for bears.

Weigh In

How would your life change if you found out your family had once had money?

If you work for someone awful, when do you draw the line? How do you determine at what point the money isn’t worth what you’re going through?


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