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Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

The Silver StarThe Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Silver Star is a complex story told seamlessly by Jeannette Walls author of the memoir The Glass Castle.  Clearly, she drew upon her memoir to create the characters Bean, age 12, and Liz, age 15, for this novel. I am always amazed when an author creates children that are so authentic that you can remember thinking and behaving like them when you were a kid.  If I had to conjure these memories on my own, I would fail.  That makes it so sweet to have Ms. Walls do the conjuring leaving me to just enjoy them.

Above all, this novel reminds us that being a kid is not as easy as it might appear.  While their mother tries to find a career in music after a series of poor decisions in her small hometown that send her out on her own without much of a plan, Liz and Bean fend for themselves, existing on chicken potpies and going to school, during many long periods when their mother leaves them alone.  Liz is a creative girl who keeps her worries from her younger sister all the while distracting her with word games and make-believe.  She is the protector.  Bean, is smart and resourceful.  She idolizes Liz and depends upon her. She learns from her. The story allows us to watch as Bean and Liz subtly change roles.

I marveled at the unconditional love between these sisters. The characters are very well-developed.  I cared about them. The story is heartwarming and a joy to read.

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