“Prissy Fallwell smoked Players Plain, played crib for money and drank Wild Turkey when she was between men. Prissy had a lot of boyfriends when I was growing up. I had a lot of crushes – Jack Lord from Hawaii Five-O, Hawkeye Pierce, Jerome the Giraffe and Jesus. Well, GOD actually. It was an on again off again sort of affair. This is our story “
Bean E. Fallwell loves grilled cheese sandwiches, old movies, her best friend Goose and God. Mostly Happy is the story of Bean’s life, from her conception in the back seat of an off-duty cab to a bus-station phone booth in Cheyenne Wyoming thirty years later.
Bean gallops through her life collecting shiny bits of beauty that she tucks into a red Samsonite Saturn suitcase — a touchstone that keeps her from spiralling into the dark worlds of her beautiful, screwed up mother and all the stray men she brings home; her sad, exhausted father; and her magnetic stepfather as he transforms from family saviour into a deadly dragon. Without remorse or bitterness Bean moves forward, seeking friendships where she can, casting spells to protect her younger sister, and seeking solace in whatever small sanctuaries her transient life offers. As she migrates from schoolgirl to teen to young woman, Bean evolves into one of fiction’s most memorable characters, learning to cope, recover, and most importantly, to laugh.
“Mostly Happy knocked me out of my boots. The new novel by Saskatoon fiction writer and playwright Pam Bustin subtly gathers steam as it progresses; only after I’d completed it did I realize how ardently I’d been cheering on the main character, Bean, and her dysfunctional family, and how emotionally-involved I’d become in their real-as-nails story.
From the first page, readers are in for a different ride, and different is good.”
– Shelley A. Leedahl (Sky Kickers and Tell Me Everything)
The flip side of innocence is guilt, but sometimes the space between them is so thin, one is indistinguishable from the other. So it is with the precocious heroine of Mostly Happy, the irrepressible Bean. Pam Bustin has created a perilous odyssey for her young protagonist who shunts between dangers carrying her talismans with her — all held in a red Samsonite suitcase.Brilliant, moving and utterly believable.
— R.P. MacIntyre (Feeding at Nine and Yuletide Blues)
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I wish I was born a hundred years ago.