Friday, November 8, 2013

Audiobook Review: The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls




Title:  The Silver Star

Author:  Jeannette Walls

Narrator:  Jeannette Walls

Unabridged Length:  7 hrs, 48 mn.


Here is a summary of The Silver Star from the publisher's website:

The Silver Star, Jeannette Walls has written a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about an intrepid girl who challenges the injustice of the adult world—a triumph of imagination and storytelling.

It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who “found something wrong with every place she ever lived,” takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.

An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Because money is tight, Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town—a big man who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister—inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz.

Jeannette Walls, supremely alert to abuse of adult power, has written a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other and the world, despite its flaws and injustices. - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Silver-Star/Jeannette-Walls/9781451661507#sthash.hPnCBFUD.dpuf
The Silver Star, Jeannette Walls has written a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about an intrepid girl who challenges the injustice of the adult world—a triumph of imagination and storytelling.

It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who “found something wrong with every place she ever lived,” takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.

An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Because money is tight, Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town—a big man who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister—inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz.

Jeannette Walls, supremely alert to abuse of adult power, has written a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other and the world, despite its flaws and injustices.


My Review: 
This is not my first experience with Walls' work, as I read both The Glass Castle and Half-Broke Horses and loved both of these non-fiction works.  I wasn't sure how her fictional story would go with me, but I had positive thoughts knowing that Walls narrated the story herself.  Any previous books I listened to narrated by the author I just loved!  Unfortunately, this wasn't the case with The Silver Star.

If you have read Walls previous books it is obvious she comes from a highly dysfunctional family.   She draws on her personal experiences once again to create Bean and Liz's story.  Although Bean is our main character, I felt the story belonged as much to Liz as she is the one who faces the crisis head on.  

Liz and Bean live with their single mother in California, never in one place too long.  It isn't uncommon for their mother to not show up at home for long periods of time, but this time the girls are worried.  Since the girls don't have jobs, they can't pay bills or buy food so they have to come up with a plan for survival.  Recalling that their mother comes from Virginia and still has family there, they decide to embark on a journey across the country to stay with their family until their mother gets her life in order.  So they leave a note for their mother, hoping she finds it when she returns, scrape enough money together to purchase two one-way tickets to Virginia.

The girls are surprised upon meeting their family in Virginia, to learn that her mother comes from a seemingly wealthy heritage. Since all that is left of the family fortune seems to be the original Holladay home, the girls decide to take jobs to help pay for their school clothes and personal expenses.  Against their Uncle Tinsley's wishes, they gain employment with long-time family nemesis, Jerry Maddox.  This decision sets a whole new set of events in motion.

I did enjoy Liz and Bean's story of perseverance.  They didn't have a family life until they took control of the situation and moved to Virginia.  This finally gave them the opportunity to be part of a family that takes care of each other.  This novel could be an instance where I may have enjoyed it more had I actually read it rather than listening to it.  I just feel that Walls could have put more emotion and passion into her narration, I mean she created the characters!  With themes of family, secrets, and perseverance, you may enjoy this story more than I did.  Although I didn't love listening to the book I feel that it would make an interesting book club selection.

My Rating: 3/5

Disclosure:  This audiobook was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


The Silver Star, Jeannette Walls has written a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about an intrepid girl who challenges the injustice of the adult world—a triumph of imagination and storytelling.

It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who “found something wrong with every place she ever lived,” takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.

An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Because money is tight, Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town—a big man who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister—inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz.

Jeannette Walls, supremely alert to abuse of adult power, has written a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other and the world, despite its flaws and injustices. - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Silver-Star/Jeannette-Walls/9781451661507#sthash.hPnCBFUD.dpuf
The Silver Star, Jeannette Walls has written a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about an intrepid girl who challenges the injustice of the adult world—a triumph of imagination and storytelling.

It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who “found something wrong with every place she ever lived,” takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.

An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Because money is tight, Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town—a big man who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister—inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz.

Jeannette Walls, supremely alert to abuse of adult power, has written a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other and the world, despite its flaws and injustices. - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Silver-Star/Jeannette-Walls/9781451661507#sthash.hPnCBFUD.dpuf
The Silver Star, Jeannette Walls has written a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about an intrepid girl who challenges the injustice of the adult world—a triumph of imagination and storytelling.

It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who “found something wrong with every place she ever lived,” takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.

An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Because money is tight, Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town—a big man who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister—inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz.

Jeannette Walls, supremely alert to abuse of adult power, has written a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other and the world, despite its flaws and injustices. - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Silver-Star/Jeannette-Walls/9781451661507#sthash.hPnCBFUD.dpu

2 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I liked this more than you did but do agree that Walls wasn't the best choice of narrators.

stacybuckeye said...

Bummer about the narration. I've only read The Glass Castle and loved it so much that I'm afraid to read her other book, guessing that I'll be disappointed.