About this Item
Bean E. Fallwell's story in Mostly Happy begins with an inventory of items, shiny bits of beauty that she has collected and tucked into a red Samsonite Saturn suitcase. This suitcase, a dominant metaphor in the novel, becomes Bean's touchstone that keeps her from spiraling 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 Bean's family life that shred her innocence, but as she is battered and almost broken 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.