From one of the best-selling memoirists of all time, a stunning and heartbreaking novel about an intrepid girl who challenges the injustice of the adult world - a triumph of imagination and storytelling.
It is 1970. "Bean" Holladay is 12 and her sister, Liz, is 15 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 But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn.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.
The author of The Glass Castle, hyper-alert to abuse of adult power, has written a gorgeous, riveting, heartbreaking novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love the world despite its flaws and injustices.
©2013 Jeannette Walls (P)2013 Simon & Schuster
This mostly plotless, plodding narrative seems to have no idea where it's going. The writing is elementary-school level and the story is lacking. Plus, the "word plays" one character entertains herself at are just plain annoying and the long descriptions of feeding and caring for emus gets really boring...and I'm not easily bored. I found myself beginning to hope this book would be over soon, but kept reading in hopes of finding clarity about where all this was going. The answer, I learned, was....nowhere.
Secrets of a Charmed Life
No way. That was one of the worst parts about the book. She is not a professional reader. It's hard to listen to.
I like the story but has very similar characters from The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses. I like Wells' writing style, and how a story is told but the performance lacked luster, passion, and gusto. I was waiting for her to scream as the character would scream, or argue in the same tone the character would argue in, but it was just very monotone.
Story was good with a great ending. The reader (author) used one voice for her male and female characters, which made the audible part unappealing. The story line itself was great, which made story enjoyable.
I love Jeannette Walls and having her read her own book helps me understand it from HER personal view. I am such a fan of lily! She must have been an amazing woman! I wish I could read more about her life. What a fantastic spitfire!
Well obviously Lily. She is straightforward, unapologetic, genuine and fought for her beliefs. I feel like today's 'throw-away' and 'instant-gratification' society has dulled the fire and strength in our hearts and minds. I wish I could have met this powerful and unique lady. She reminds me a bit of my own grandmother. Lily is the epitome of a woman built of strength, hardship, and gumption.
I loved Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses and this felt like the same material just in a different setting. Was hoping for more.
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