Mostly Happy by Pam BustinMostly Happy by Pam Bustin

Mostly Happy

byPam Bustin

Paperback | January 30, 2008

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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 _ So begins Bean E. Fallwell's life story in Mostly Happy.

Caught in the tight space between love and fear, Bean gallops through her early life picking up shiny bits of beauty along the way and tucking them into a red Samsonite suitcase. This suitcase, a dominant metaphor in the novel, becomes Bean's 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 drunken dragon. Without remorse or bitterness Bean moves forward, seeking her friendships where she can, casting spells to protect her younger sister, and seeking solace from whatever small sanctuaries her transient life offers.

There are intense, cruel and terrifying moments in her family life that shred her innocence, but as Bean is battered and almost broken a few times by them, she also learns how to cope, recover and laugh. From engaging episodes as a religious-sponsored youth missionary in England and Europe, and the orchestrated pursuit of becoming an actress in Toronto, to the novel's road's end in Wyoming, Bean's life is as relentlessly whimsical as it is sad. And as she migrates from schoolgirl to teen, to young woman, and her dreams unfold from grill cheese sandwiches to self-sufficiency, she evolves into one of fiction's most memorable characters.

Pam Bustin was raised in a host of small towns across the prairies. She currently lives in Saskatoon. Her play Saddles in the Rain won the John V. Hicks award in 2002 and was published by Playwrights Canada Press in the anthology The West of all Possible Worlds in 2004. Her other stage plays include barefoot and The Passage of Georgia ...
Title:Mostly HappyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:296 pages, 8.47 × 5.55 × 0.72 inPublished:January 30, 2008Publisher:Thistledown PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1897235399

ISBN - 13:9781897235393

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from AWESOME!!! 3 Congratz to Pam Bustin for winning the 2010 White Pine readers award!!!
Date published: 2010-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my all time favorite books...highly recommended Pam Bustin does a terrific job of bringing the reader into the life of Bean and Prissy. The characters are disfunctional, sad, funny and magnetic. Although the underlying story is sad, when told in the voice of Bean, you can't help but laugh out loud and fall in love with the character! I can't say enough about this book. Since reading the book a month ago, I have purchased ten copies of the book to pass along to friends as I feel this is a "Must Read" book.
Date published: 2009-09-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Debut Novel Mostly Happy is Pam Bustin's first novel and in my opinion a very good one. She's a Canadian author and I do love it when a good Canadian author comes along. This novel centers around Bean-yes Bean is her birth name-and her mom Prissy and their very dysfunctional home life. Bean never really has a chance for a normal childhood as hers is messed up from the beginning. You see, Bean's mom Prissy, has a penchant for abusive men. After Bean's father leaves and she is growing up, Prissy has different men coming in and out all the time. As a matter of a fact, Bean does more taking care of her mother then the other way around. Finally Prissy meets and marries Jack and Bean thinks that life will be good now. Unfortunately this doesn't happen and Jack turns out to be a monster like the rest of them and Prissy remains with him in all the abuse and craziness and brings yet another child into the mess-Dee. Bean, at a young age, gets a red Samsonite suitcase. This suitcase is a big part of the book as it carries everything that's meant something to her as she wanders through her life. They moved so many times, she went to so many different schools-she was almost like a chameleon as she seemed to fit into whatever the school needed whether it be an athlete or an actress. And no matter where they went, the suitcase went with her. I think for her it was a form of security, as long as she had it she was home even if it was another strange place. Eventually Bean has had enough and tries to move on and start some kind of life for herself. She has always thought that it was up to her to take care of Prissy and Dee and finally she realizes that she can't-the only ones who can change are the ones involved. So she goes off to meet new people, goes to Bible school and travels around some. Still, the pull of going back home is strong and after a crazy call from Prissy, she heads back. Thankfully through her life she had Goose, this was a boy she met when she was very young and they stuck together through it all-he and his family always helped hold things together for her. This book is by no means easy to read-the material itself is difficult-abuse. Also, if you're offended by bad language then this may not be the book for you. However, the material and language in this novel is a part of the book-this is the way of life for many like Bean and her mom-it is their reality. I really liked this book. The author drew me into the lives of these characters so completely. She makes us live their with them-the bad and the good moments. I love when an author can make me feel such strong emotions. I found parts of the book hard to read but at the same time she changes it up with Bean's humor and you can't help but like Bean. Bean is an inspiration in many ways-she gets out, she gets help, she tries to recover from her awful past-she refuses to live the life she grew up in. I would recommend reading this book if you're able to handle the issues I've mentioned. It's really well worth reading.
Date published: 2008-09-12