If my reading list doesn’t change soon, I’m gonna have to re-name this blog something like “The Anti-Mother’s Day” because, this week, we feature yet another Bad Mother book.
In The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls, Mama leaves her two daughters, “just for day or so,” to advance her singing career. This happens often enough that the left-behind girls know how to survive on their own. It helps that Mama leaves them a stash of chicken pot pies.
But one time, “just for a day or so” stretches into two weeks. The girls decide to take matters into their own hands. They board a bus, bound for the small Virginia hometown Mama left behind.
Mama was a Holladay and the Holladays owned the mill that employed everybody in town. By now, the family has fallen into genteel poverty. But a few townspeople still want to settle some scores.
With all that going on, this was a remarkably tension-free novel. Walls chose 12-year-old Bean, the younger sister, as her point-of-view character. As a result, lots of exciting stuff happens —
(Knife fights, anyone? Witness tampering?)
— all offstage.
If Walls had been willing to play around more with time and point of view, I might have read these pages with wide eyes and a quickened heartbeat.
Maybe I’m getting jaded, like a movie critic?
No, I take that back. I’m just a few pages into next week’s book and the suspense is already killing me. I so want to stay up until 3 in the morning, turning page after page.
But anyway, back to Jeannette Walls. You might try her memoir, The Glass Castle, a compelling account of her dysfunctional childhood.
Ah, bad mothers. At least they make for great books.
Blonde woman photo via Visualhunt.com