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The Silver Star    by Jeanette Walls order for
Silver Star
by Jeanette Walls
Order:  USA  Can
Scribner, 2014 (2013)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Imagine a small town in California in 1970. A twelve year-old girl carrying the nickname of 'Bean' and her fifteen year-old sister Liz find themselves living without their mother again. Their mother Charlotte has been pursuing a career on the stage and routinely leaves the girls to themselves for that dreamed of break.

When Bean and Liz realize that the police are aware the sisters are alone with no responsible adult, eating chicken pot pies for every meal, they decide to ride a bus cross country to Virginia to visit their Uncle Tinsley, Charlotte's brother. This is where Charlotte grew up but she couldn't stand the small country town life and left at a very early age.

Most of the inhabitants of this town work in the local textile mill, breathing white lint all day. This mill is run by a ruthless manager who will stop at nothing to keep the mill running and who must be kowtowed to by all the workers. Bean and Liz work for him, trying to earn money to buy school clothes. That leads to nothing but trouble. Bean is interested in finding out her father's identity. Charlotte says she will tell her some day when she is older.

The Silver Star by Jeanette Walls shows a keen insight into the hearts of young girls. Their resiliency to bounce back and their ability to step up to the plate when necessary is right on. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, has been a New York Times bestseller for over six years and her Half Broke Horses was named one of the ten best books of 2009. The Silver Star is a delight.

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