Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Silver Star

Jeannette Walls wrote one of the best memoirs I've ever read, The Glass Castle.  So when I saw this novel of hers in the library I thought it was worth a shot.

Not much here, and I was inclined to love it because of her earlier book.

This reads like it belongs in the young adult section except there are a few sentences with language in them.  Still, it is very simple--nothing wrong with that in and of itself--but neither the story or the theme has much to it.

The narrator, Bean, and her sister have a an irresponsible mother who abandons them regularly so that they have to fend for themselves. Bean is about 12 and her sister a year or so older.  Once while the mother is gone for a couple of weeks, they decide to take a bus to the rural south where the mother's brother lives.  And that is where most of the story takes place.  It is 1970, the schools in the south have just been integrated, and the controversies over the Vietnam War are increasing in intensity.

That is the setting for the stage, but not much happens in front of the background.  There is a bad guy who hires the girls to do work and something happens there.  There are references to tension because of integration. A cousin is considering marrying a Vietnamese woman and is questioning the wisdom of the war. The mother pops back in and then pops back out.  There are emus who are adopted as pets. An uncle crawls out of his shell.

There is a central incident that has a resolution, but nothing novel happens in the novel.

After I finished I went to Amazon and saw that the book has a four star rating and over a thousand reviewers. I think the number of readers is a function of the excellence of The Glass Castle.  And my guess is that the positive reviews reflect spillover because of how good The Glass Castle is.

If you are interested in an easy, sweet read, this will not disappoint, but you're not likely to think there is much to this.

No comments:

Post a Comment