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Review: The Silver Star

August 23, 2013

The Silver Star

After their mother leaves to find herself, 12 year old “Bean” and her 15 year old sister Liz are worried about the police taking them into custody so they take the bus from California to Virginia to visit their Uncle Tinsley.  Uncle Tinsley has fallen on hard times and reluctantly takes them in so the girls decide they need to find work to help pay their way.  The only person who will hire them is Jerry Maddox, the foreman of the mill their family used to own.

The girls get to know some of their family and learn about their past and their mother’s former life and settle into a fairly happy life with their uncle.  At least it’s happy for Bean – Liz has more trouble adjusting.  Then something happens to Liz and they find themselves up against the most powerful man in town.

I really enjoyed The Silver Star, by Jeannette Walls.  The story is told from Bean’s point of view and I was totally charmed by her – she’s strong, loyal, and curious.  She’s not afraid to speak up or fight against injustice.  She learns a lot about the world and it’s not all good, yet she remains optimistic.

The book is set during the early 1970s and I enjoyed the references to fashion as well as historical events.  The small town of Byler, Virginia and it’s citizens came to life for me as Bean and Liz discovered its darkest secrets and learned why their mother left in the first place.  I thought the plot and the writing were solid and I always looked forward to getting back to the book and rooted for the girls on their journey.  I think anyone who enjoys coming of age stories will want to read this book.

I listened to the audio version of The Silver Star.  Jeannette Walls narrates it herself and she does a decent job.  There were a few times when her accent didn’t seem to fit the book but it wasn’t enough to pull me out of the story.  The audio is on 7 CDs and lasts approximately 8 hours.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. sandynawrot permalink
    August 23, 2013 5:54 am

    I listened to The Glass Castle on audio as well, but Walls didn’t narrate that one (but the narrator Julia Gibson was awesome). I really love Walls’ literary voice…it is very distinctive.

  2. August 23, 2013 6:20 am

    I am totally not a memoir fan but I know most people who read Walls love her. My former book club went crazy over The Glass Castle (which I didn’t read).

  3. August 23, 2013 8:27 am

    Thanks for your comments. I was wondering if this one would be good. I loved The Glass Castle.


  4. August 23, 2013 9:49 am

    A new author for me. Thanks for the review.

  5. August 23, 2013 10:07 am

    I usually don’t care for author’s reading their own books. Except for some memoirs, it just never works out well for me. I’m glad I have this one in book form. I’m also glad to hear you enjoyed it, I was a little worried after loving her other books about her writing fiction.

  6. August 23, 2013 11:00 am

    Have to look out for this one; I loved Half Broke Horses.

  7. August 23, 2013 11:34 am

    I read The Glass Castle a few years ago. This sounds very interesting, as either a regular book and an audiobook.

  8. August 23, 2013 12:30 pm

    Jeanette Walls sounds like an author who’s incapable of writing a bad book. I’m adding this to my tbr list.

  9. August 23, 2013 12:34 pm

    That seems like a long way for children to travel. From the West coast to the East coast without an adult?? Maybe I’m too protective.

  10. August 23, 2013 1:03 pm

    i do enjoy a good coming-of-age story so i’m definitely going to be checking this one out! love that it’s set in the 70s and includes fashion mentions!

  11. talesofwhimsy permalink
    August 23, 2013 1:33 pm

    Sounds sad. Great review though.

  12. Patty permalink
    August 23, 2013 3:30 pm

    Sounds really good,…I love books like this!

  13. August 23, 2013 6:47 pm

    I enjoyed The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses, so this one is on my list. I won’t be experiencing it by audio, though. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  14. August 23, 2013 7:56 pm

    I haven’t read anything by her, but I do have The Glass Castle. This sounds like a book I’d really enjoy! I loved the early 70’s and love reading about that time, so this is going on my to read list! Great review!

  15. August 23, 2013 9:55 pm

    I’ve been debating on this one – my library has it on audio – because it was read by the author, and my experience with author-narrated books is hit and miss. Glad to hear she does a decent job – I’ll give it a try.

  16. August 25, 2013 8:32 am

    I’ve been debating this one because it sounds heartbreaking, but I might just give it a try.

  17. August 25, 2013 1:35 pm

    Bean sounds like a great character. Glad you liked it!

  18. bookingmama permalink
    August 25, 2013 4:48 pm

    I liked this one but just felt as if I’ve read “the story” before.

  19. August 26, 2013 7:44 am

    This sounds like something I’d like for the same reasons as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I don’t read many books with young protagonists, but precocious children can be a lot of fun to read about 🙂

  20. August 27, 2013 11:51 pm

    Interesting that she read it herself. I usually like that but it sounds like she might not have been the perfect choice. I loved The Glass Castle so I know I will read this one eventually!

  21. August 28, 2013 3:31 pm

    I was thinking. I loved both of her books The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses. I have not read her latest one yet. I just reviewed a book by Julie Cantrell: When Mountains Move. Her first book was Into the Free. Have you read Into the Free? Julie’s writing is in the same genre as Jeanette Walls. Review of Julie’s latest book for this Sunday’s post.

  22. August 28, 2013 10:33 pm

    Since I just read The Glass Castle, I’m quite interested in this book. I’ve seen Walls speak in a couple of videos and don’t know how I would feel about her as a narrator – I think I’m going to stick with the print version for this one.

  23. September 4, 2013 1:07 pm

    This was another audio that I really enjoyed. I liked the story and I thought that Walls did a great job at narration, especially being an author and not a narrator. I’m glad you enjoyed it too.

  24. September 7, 2013 5:04 pm

    I love coming of age stories and have heard a lot of great things about Jeanette Walls. This will definitely make its way onto my TBR list.

  25. September 15, 2013 4:41 pm

    I have this from NetGalley I think, but just haven’t gotten to it yet. I’m interested in reading another by her.

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