Jean "Bean" Holladay is twelve, her sister Liz is fifteen and they are best friends. They need to be, because their mother Charlotte is a bit of a flake. Charlotte was and is a rebel. She is single mother now, but leaves the girls to find herself. Bean and Liz are used to being by themselves. They shop, eat chicken pot pies day after day and go to school. One day as they come home from school, the police are at their door. Although they ditch the cops, they decide it's time to go back to Virginia where there mother's brother, Tinsley lives.
They make their way across the country on a bus, and arrive unannounced at Uncle Tinsely's door. He takes them in, while they wait to hear from their mom. They learn a lot about their mother, her family, why she left home in the first place and they learn that though most people accept them and want what's best, not everyone in the town is their friend.
This story set in the 1970's is about love and family, relationships and triumph over tragedy. It discusses social injustice, racial tensions soon after forced integration, and Walls treats the unstable, probably bi-polar, mother with just enough caring that we don't end up hating her. Bean is the narrator and at twelve almost 13 she is precocious and outspoken, while Liz is finding her way as a flamboyant, smart-as-a-whip beauty.
I enjoyed this book more that Half-Broke Horses also by Jeannette Walls, and I intend to read Glass Castle very soon. I gave this book 5 happy hands because it had me reading when I should have been sleeping.
I am linking this review to What's In A Name 2015, for the category" book with a color in the title.