Through Goodreads’ giveaway program, I was randomly selected to receive a copy of Jeannette Walls’ The Silver Star: A Novel. Here’s the description from Goodreads:
It is 1970. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister Liz is fifteen when their artistic mother Charlotte, a woman “who flees every place she’s ever lived at the first sign of trouble,” takes off to “find herself.” She leaves her girls enough money for food to last a month or two. But when Bean gets home from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz board a bus from California to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying antebellum mansion that’s been in the family for generations.
An impetuous optimist, Bean discovers who her father was and learns many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Money is tight, so Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town, a big man who bullies workers, tenants, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister, inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, non-conformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn.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 in the car with Maddox.
I’m really looking forward to the book because I’ve read and liked Walls memoir The Glass Castle about her very dysfunctional family. In fact, it was so nice I read it twice. (Okay, that was an accident because I didn’t remember I’d already read it but still.)
This is Walls first novel so I’m interested to see how she does with material that doesn’t come directly from her life. Then again, the description indicates that Walls’ odd childhood maybe be at least a little bit of an inspiration. We shall see…