Book Review The Glass Castle and One Pink Line

I’ve liked Jeannette Walls ever since I read her memoir, The Glass Castle. Although I’ve talked to many people who have said they’ve thought of her as a mundane writer who told an extraordinary story, I really enjoyed her writing (and The Glass Castle has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon with over 3,500 people having reviewed the book, so others must enjoy her writing too).   

The Silver Star is one of those books I find hard to put down. Intensely realistic, with characters you can relate to and sympathize with, I found myself unable to concentrate on much else until I finished this book.

Bean and Liz are two young girls whose mother is a hot mess. She is self-absorbed, unable to be a mother, and often leaves them on their own. When she flat out abandons them, they end up making a cross country trek on their own to the place where their mother grew up, rural Virginia, to live with their Uncle. The story is about their learning to survive and adapt to their new life, and also about their coming to grips with the reality of who their mother is and isn’t.

The novel is in many ways, a bildungsroman, a coming of age story. Bean tells the story from a first person point of view, which is such a good choice because she can alternate between the story she is telling (the story of when she was twelve) and the reflection that comes with being an adult telling a story about childhood. I think I especially enjoy stories like this because they are ultimately the kind of story I hope to one day write on my own.

I would highly recommend The Glass Castle or any of Jeannette’s Walls’ books. I certainly plan to read more of them.

One Pink Line is one of those books that I love to read in the summer. I read this while vacationing with my college roommate as I was sitting by the pool sipping a margarita. Even though I had pretty much figured out the ending a few chapters into the book, it didn’t make reading it any less enjoyable and I couldn’t put it down.

The story is from two perspectives, Sydney and Grace. Sydney is the mom, and her story is essentially the story of how she became pregnant in college with Grace and how she eventually ended up the strong and amazing woman she is today. Grace’s story is about learning where she came from, as she slowly realizes that her dad is not her biological father.

I think I related well to this story because my dad is not my biological father either, although unlike Grace, I have always known this. My mom met my dad when I was eight and they were married when I was eleven. He is the only father I have ever known and for the past twenty years he has been there for me through so many countless struggles and triumphs.

The one thing that bothered me a little about this book is time. Since the book switched perspectives and Sydney’s perspective was pretty much flashback, that part worked well. But Grace’s perspective is supposed to be in “current” time, so for it to skip years (like 5th grade, to high school, to college) with no real transition in-between, was kind of strange. Each time Grace’s perspective came up in the story, she was essentially a different age, which bothered me a lot. It left a lot of her struggle untold and I felt the book would have been more balanced if it had had more Grace chapters.

Overall, this was a great read that I would highly recommend if you like romantic stories with happy endings.