One Good Hustle by Billie Livingston

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These vulgarities can easily be accepted as elements of character in the novel, but language is much more crucial and vital in the way it defines speakers. The problem faces any author of fiction dealing with adolescents...
-National Post arts

Synopsis

From award-winning writer Billie Livingston, an unsparing novel of loyalty and survival that is fierce, sharp and funny even when it's breaking your heart.
 
The child of 2 con artists, 16-year-old Sammie Bell always prided herself on knowing the score. But now she finds herself backed into a corner. After a hustle gone dangerously wrong, her mother, Marlene, is sliding into an abyss of alcoholic depression, spending her days fantasizing aloud about death--a goal Sammie is tempted to help her accomplish. Horrified by the appeal of this, Sammie packs a bag and leaves her mother to her own devices.
 
With her father missing in action, she has nowhere else to go but the home of a friend with 2 parents who seem to actually love their daughter and each other--and who awkwardly try to extend some semblance of family to Sammie. Throughout a long summer of crisis among the normals, Sammie is torn between her longing for the approval of the con-man father she was named for and her desire for the "weird, spearmint-fresh feeling" of life in the straight world. Sammie wants to be normal but fears that where she comes from makes that beyond the realm of possibility.
 
One Good Hustle chronicles 2 months in Sammie Bell's struggle with her dread that she is somehow doomed genetically to be just another hustler.

 

About Billie Livingston

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Billie Livingston published her critically acclaimed first novel,Going Down Swinging,in 2000. Her first book of poetry,The Chick at the Back of the Churchwas a finalist for the Pat Lowther Award. Her second novel,Cease to Blush,was aGlobe and MailBest Book and her story collection,Greedy Little Eyes,was the winner of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award as well the CBC’s inaugural Bookie Award for short fiction.
 
Published July 24, 2012 by Random House Canada. 289 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for One Good Hustle
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Globe and Mail

Above average
Reviewed by Diane Baker Mason on Jul 27 2012

It’s hard to read it and not want to reach through the pages and drag the kid out into the world of ordinary bad parenting – the lost tempers, the scoldings, the run-of-the-mill once-in-a-blue-moon spritzer binge.

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National Post arts

Below average
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Jul 27 2012

These vulgarities can easily be accepted as elements of character in the novel, but language is much more crucial and vital in the way it defines speakers. The problem faces any author of fiction dealing with adolescents...

Read Full Review of One Good Hustle | See more reviews from National Post arts

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darla 17 Jun 2013

Funny and tough and real. Loved this book.

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