The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Silver Star

Plot Summary Part 1

Bean and Liz are the daughters of Charlotte. Their dad is dead, having died after he boned Charlotte at least twice. Charlotte lives in a dream world where she is a successful singer.  She disappears for days on end to pursue her non-existent singing career.  She even made up a fake boyfriend named Mark and told the kids stories about him, how Mark helped her with her songwriting and how Mark loves her large breasts. She even held pretend conversations with the non-existent boyfriend and writes notes to herself from the non-existent girlfriend. Finally, she just abandons her kids to pursue her "singing career".

The kids got lonely and decided to take a bus trip to Virginia to live with their Uncle Tinsley. Yes, Tinsley is a man even though he has a girl's name. Uncle Tinsley was surprised to see them, they hadn't told him they were coming. But he let them stay in the barn, like farm animals.

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A few weeks later Charlotte, their Mom, shows up. She feels bad for abandoning her kids so she takes them on a shopping spree to buy expensive clothes. But when the kids protest that she has no money to buy them anything, their Mom gets angry and then goes crazy and then gets injected with mind control drugs and locked up in a mental hospital.

Bean and Liz realize that they will be living with Uncle Tinsley long term and going to school there as well. Uncle Tinsley offers them some clothes which were popular in the 1940's but the kids don't want to dress like that so they go looking for jobs to give them money to buy normal clothes. No one wants to hire them until they come to a guy named Maddox who agrees to take them on. Liz helps Maddox with his paperwork while Bean wipes the ass of Maddox's baby and does a lot of other unpleasant shitwork. Tinsley hates Maddox because Maddox got him fired from his job at the mill, so they don't tell Uncle Tinsley they are working for Maddox, not at first.

Maddox is a control freak. When his wife Doris misbehaves, he takes away all her clothes so she can't go to town and "act like a whore". Maddox says he's doing it for her own good.

All of a sudden Charlotte, their mom, is in New York pursuing her "singing career". I must have missed something because the last thing I read was that she was locked in a mental hospital. Actually we don't even know if she's in New York because she calls the kids but we have no idea what is actually going on with her. Basically, she's out of the picture for most of the rest of the book.

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