The Silver Star is the newest book by Jeannette Walls and her first book of real fiction. It is the story of Jean “Bean” and her sister, Liz after their mother disappears and they live with their uncle in Virginia.
Jean is 12 years old and her sister is 15 when their mother, Charlotte, an aspiring songwriter, singer, and actress disappears. Fearing they will be picked up by the authorities for not having their mom home, the girls take off, traveling from California to Virginia to their mother’s childhood home and their Uncle Tinsley, who is not happy to see them but takes them in. The girls explore their new town, where they met Jean’s father’s family. The Wyatts offer Jean some history about her father, her mother and the town. With school approaching, the girls decide to get jobs in order to buy new clothes. They get a job with Jerry Maddox, a man who appears to be up to no good and hires the girls. Liz becomes his private secretary and Jean becomes his wife’s helper with the children. The jobs quickly go from good to bad to worse as Liz finds her herself in a tough situation and goes up against the town bully, Mr. Maddox.
I enjoyed this book. It was a fast read and I truly enjoyed the character, Jean. I enjoyed her journey of discovery who she is and who her father was. I enjoyed how the military medal, The Silver Star, plays into the story. Although the resolution of the conflict fell short and rushed, I enjoyed this story of discovery and watching Jean mature and grow. The book makes reference to To Kill a Mockingbird a lot and I think Ms. Walls was trying to write a similar story. While The Silver Star is a good book, it is nowhere near the great storytelling of To Kill a Mockingbird.
“No one who dares to be great and reach for the stars worries about being realistic.” -Charlotte