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.
Many thanks to Mini Book Expo and Thistledown Press for the opportunity to read and review this book.
That’s one of the reasons why I like the books from Mini Book Expo– they provide such amazing books by Canadian authors who might be overlooked. =)
– Carmen T
Sounds like the book handles the difficult topic very well. Thanks for the review. I’m adding this one to my wishlist.
I agree Carmen. I love finding good Canadian authors and like to make sure they get noticed if the books are really good.
Nymeth, yes I thought the author did a good job with the subject matter. It’s a tough subject and there isn’t a way to sugarcoat it. I’ll be having a giveaway on it one day soon.
My experience with Canadian authors is so limited. When I was in Toronto I thought about picking up a few books by local authors, but to be honest the price tag kind of scared me off a little! Sounds like a really good book but tough ones like this take a while for me to swallow–can’t read them very often, unfortunately.
You are soon going to be the giveaway queen!!
Trish, books are pricy here in the bookstores, that’s why I order online and it’s still more expensive than the States.
That’s why I wanted to make it clear in my review that this book could be really difficult for some to read. I don’t want someone picking it up because I said it was good and not being prepared for what’s in it.
I appreciate your honesty Dar!! I actually browsed around on the miniexpo page (never been there before!) but it seemed like a lot of strange titles (like erotica stuff). I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for over a year and feel like I don’t know anything about finding and getting books! 🙂 I didn’t even know what an ARC was until a few months ago.
lol Trish. Mini Book Expo gets some really good selections along the way-you just have to watch. I had originally gotten Broken from there too.
J. Kaye Oldner says
Awesome review! I dearly love the Mini Book Expo. They have added a whole new dimension to my life.
Thanks so much J.Kaye. I agree-as you know I’ve gotten some good ones from them. I have First Daughter now from them still to read. That’s next on the list somewhere. lol.
Breeni Books says
This sounds like difficult subject matter to tackle, but sounds like one I’d find interesting. Great review!
I wish I liked reading ARCs more. I’ve read a handful and really haven’t cared for the process of reading unknown authors (to me). I like when others (like you, Dar) read them first and let me know what you think. 🙂
I’ve watched Mini Book Expo for quite some time, but haven’t tried to get a book. I’ve seen many like Trish mentioned (blah) and some books that I may have been interested in didn’t mail to the US.
Joy, too funny. You can keep waiting for me to read the new authors first-I love discovering them. I’ve read so many excellent debut novels along the way.
Don’t get me wrong, I love reading new-to-me authors, but they most often are already established authors or recommended by friends. And, of course, there have been plenty debut novelist that I have thoroughly enjoyed. There’s just something about the ARC process that doesn’t excite me like I wish it would. (I have several on the way, I hope I like them!) Actually – I think I just figured it out. I don’t randomly choose books very well. My previous track record with classics identifies that very clearly. I just need a little bit of guidance. 🙂 However, I do not like to know very much about a book before I read it either – the very basics are plenty.
I will be relying on you, Dar, so keep ’em comin’!
Joy, I like the ARC process but I like to be able to pick a book that sounds intriguing to me. I don’t really like when they just send you a title out of the blue. I hope you’ll enjoy the ones you’re getting though!
Sounds like a good book. I’ve added it to my list. Great review!
Thanks Anna and thanks for popping by. I hope you will again.
Your review makes me want to read this one that much more! I suggested it as a purchase through my local library quite awhile ago, still waiting… *sigh*
Wanda, I’d be happy to send it to you. Just click on my contact on my blog and email me your address and I’ll send it off.
I just checked my library holds on-line and … It is in! Must have arrived yesterday, it wasn’t there when I was at the library Saturday.
Many thanks for your generous offer though, you deserve every award you get! 🙂
Not sure if you watch it but guess what “Wanda” was reading last night on Corner Gas?
I was into my current read, “Shelf Monkey” and only half paying attention when my son yelled,
“Mom, mom, look! Wanda’s reading your book!”
Wanda, no I don’t watch Corner Gas but how cool is that. Too cute about your son recognizing the book you had been reading and thinking it was yours.