the wonderful world of veena.

13 February 2015

book number four of 2015: the silver star [jeannette walls].

I first read Jeannette Walls' memoir The Glass Castle about 6 years ago, and I loved both the story as well as Walls' writing style. In all the books I have read before or since, it has remained one of the books I most recommend others should read. Her writing is so honest, and her story-telling is spectacular, so I was beyond excited about cracking open this book a few weeks ago.

The Silver Star is a story about family and about the different ways families have to pull together. Narrated by 12-year-old "Bean" Holladay in 1970, we travel from California to small-town Virginia on the cusp on integration. After their mother has a small breakdown and heads out for some time on her own, Bean and her older sister Liz head to their uncle's home in Virginia to evade the police.

As Bean and Liz adjust to Byler and to life with their Uncle Tinsley, they uncover town secrets and family histories and begin to understand their mother's behaviour a little better. While Bean takes to small-town country living like a fish to water, Liz is more skeptical, holding the town at arm's length.

Both girls slowly settle in and eventually pick up part-time jobs. A new school year begins, and with it comes integration and a lot of racial tension. Reading Bean's descriptions made me want to watch Remember the Titans again. And then, shortly after the school year opens, something happens that shakes the foundation of the sisters, of the Holladay family, and of the town itself.

We follow along with Bean as she learns to navigate that gray area between right and wrong, and in many ways we grow up with her. I loved Bean as a narrator, and I tried to drag out the last 30 pages of the book because I was not yet ready to bid her goodbye. She reminded me in a number of ways of Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, a book Bean reads in her own English class.

If you liked Walls' first book, or if you just enjoy great lead characters, check this book out.

Next read: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. Because I've never read it and figured it was time. And also because Carroll was Liz Holladay's favourite author.

No comments:

Post a Comment