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Synopsis

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls’ gripping new novel that "transports us with her powerful storytelling...She contemplates the extraordinary bravery needed to confront real-life demons in a world where the hardest thing to do may be to not run away" (O, The Oprah Magazine).

It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, 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 widowed 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 stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Money is tight, and the sisters start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town, who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Liz is whip-smart—an inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz in the car with Maddox.

Jeannette Walls 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.

Ratings and Reviews

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3.9 out of 5
(224)
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    Amazing. Could not stop reading until I was finished. A must read for any book club.

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    Good, but not as good as The Glass Castle

    Twelve-year-old Bean and her fifteen-year-old sister, Liz, are deserted by their mom who claims she needs to find herself. When the police start looking into the situation, the sisters decide to go and live with their uncle—unbeknownst to him—in a dilapidated mansion in Virginia. Bean embraces the adventure and starts to learn more about her father, while Liz begins to withdraw. Here’s a story about the bonds of family, and the pain of desertion and adolescence. Although I liked the novel, the situation and the mom reminded me too much of Walls’ The Glass Castle.

  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    The Silver Star

    If you are 60+ and lived the hippy years, if you always regretted not being old enough to go to Woodstock, then you will love this book!

  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Two sisters against the odds

    Amazing what these two girls go through and the people - who they discover - who love and support them. And their mom! She's a mess! A quick read with short chapters that you'll find yourself saying, "ok, I'll read just one more chapter." Then 10 chapters later you can't put it down. Very heartwarming.

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    Great Read

    Loved it! I could barely put it down. If you liked The Glass House, you will love this book.

(224)

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