Jeannette Walls has written a heartbreaking and redemptive novel
about an intrepid girl who challenges the injustice of the adult worldâ€”a
triumph of imagination and storytelling.
It is 1970 in a small town in California. â€œBeanâ€ Holladay is twelve and her
sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who
â€œfound something wrong with every place she ever lived,â€ 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 Uncle Tinsley lives in the
decaying mansion thatâ€™s been in Charlotteâ€™s family for generations.
An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears many
stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Because money
is tight, Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry
Maddox, foreman of the mill in townâ€”a big man who bullies his workers, his
tenants, his children, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older
sisterâ€”inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But
when school starts in the fall, itâ€™s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends,
and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz.
Jeannette Walls, supremely alert to abuse of adult power, 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.
â€œ[A] captivating, read-in-one-sitting, coming-of-age adventure.â€ -Booklist
â€œWhen Bean reads To Kill a Mockingbird in school, she seems like a long-lost cousin to Scoutâ€¦She makes for a strong and spunky protagonist.â€ - Publishers Weekly
â€œWalls turns what could have been another sentimental girl-on-the-run-finds-home clichÃ© into a fresh consideration of both adolescence and the South on the cusp of major social change.â€ - Kirkus Reviews
About the author:
Jeannette Walls graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, has been a New York Times bestseller for more than six years. She is also the author of the instant New York Times bestsellers, The Silver Star and Half Broke Horses, which was named one of the ten best books of 2009 by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. Walls lives in rural Virginia with her husband, the writer John Taylor.