‘The Silver Star’ is gold9/4/2013
Courtesy of Beaverdale Books
Review by Cathryn Lang
Jeannette Walls wrote about her own childhood in her best-selling memoir, “The Glass Castle.” She became a successful and accomplished writer despite a father who veered between brilliance and drunken destruction and a mother who hated being conventional in any way. She has delivered a work of fiction that once again describes, with pathos and humor, children who succeed despite choosing the wrong parents.
Bean and Liz Holladay live with a mother who flits from town to town, relationship to relationship and leaves the girls for large chunks of time to raise themselves. After a month alone, the girls arrive home from school to see a police car in the drive. Knowing their fate is foster care if caught, they travel to the small Virginia town from which their mother has escaped. They live with a widowed uncle who occupies the ancestral home — a decaying mansion. It is the only remainder of the prestigious position once held by the family. Bean learns about her deceased father and is drawn into the love of his earthy surviving family. Wanting to contribute financially, they find employment with the town bully and also the foreman at the mill, Jerry Maddox. Bean is independent and outspoken and stands for none of his guff. Liz is less confident and becomes intimidated by his bullying ways. It is Bean who strengthens Liz through a crisis that arises with Jerry.
You cheer for these resourceful girls and want to throttle their irresponsible mother. But it is hardship that makes them into resourceful and unique people. As with the real Walls children, Bean and Liz can still love their parents and the world despite the imperfections of each. CV
Cathryn Lang is a retired literacy leader who is loving life!