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.