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One Good Hustle Paperback – Deckle Edge, Jul 24 2012
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LONGLIST 2012 – SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE
“You must read Billie Livingston…. Sammie is smart, mouthy, literate and articulate, and she compels you to listen.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Very involving…. Livingstone portrays Sammie’s internal conflict with devastating precision…. Great storytelling.”
—NOW (Toronto) NNNN
“I loved, just loved One Good Hustle.”
—Susie Moloney, Numéro Cinq
—The Georgia Straight
“Billie Livingston has the knack of portraying teenage life in a way that is unerring and intimate.”
“Entertaining, thoughtful & perfectly crass from page 1, character is steady & strong — Written feverishly: a primal scream.”
—The One Line Review
“Stuck in a rough hustle, the sensitive daughter of two con artists uses badass honesty and wit to survive. Funny, sharp and tender, One Good Hustle delivers a gritty page-turner about what happens when love and loyalty collide with self-preservation.”
—Eden Robinson, author of Monkey Beach and Blood Sports
“What a joy to read a work so brave and unsettling. Billie Livingston holds nothing back: the terrors of teenage life; the charm of criminals; and the innocence and anger of girls on the run. Sammie Bell is Holden Caulfield, if he was born on the wrong side of the tracks and wandering through Vancouver streets.”
—Rebecca Godfrey, author of The Torn Skirt and Under the Bridge: The True Story of the Murder of Reena Virk
“In One Good Hustle, Billie Livingston once again masterfully deploys her edgy wit to create a perfectly pitched adolescent voice, an unforgettable heroine whose scam artist toughness is matched only by her yearning for authenticity. A great read from start to finish.”
—Lilian Nattel, author of Web of Angels
About the Author
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 Church was a finalist for the Pat Lowther Award. Her second novel, Cease to Blush, was a Globe and Mail Best 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.
Top Customer Reviews
The "one good hustle" of the title ties in nicely with the ending which is in no way pat or even necessarily happy, but is very satisfying. The kind of book you wish didn't end. As with Going Down Swinging and Cease to Blush, this is book I'll probably read again. And probably again. Maybe that's Livingston's best hustle, eh?
Livingston has created nuanced, multi-dimensional characters who at once display abstinence, lawlessness, caring, hypocrisy, loyalty and flaw. Sammie herself has a tough but sensitive, sarcastic but sweet voice, which lingers after the book ends. Apart from a climactic scene that wraps up too quickly, "One Good Hustle" makes for an enjoyable, fast and entertaining read.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I rated One Good Hustle three stars because the writing is good. Livingston creates well-paced dialogue and brings characters to life with just the right amount of description. What kept this from being a five-star book, in my opinion, was the lack of tension and discernible plot. One Good Hustle reads more like a character study than a novel, with Sammie moving passively from one action to another, always caught between the decisions of other people, to the flashbacks of Sammie's childhood in which she was, once again, a pawn. The main character doesn't drive the action, and when she tries, she feels bad about what she does or is frustrated in her efforts. I had no idea where the novel was going -- toward romance with Drew? Reconciliation with her parents? A better lifestyle? A rejection of Jill, Ruby and Lou's lifestyle? This is a novel that accumulates; it does not build.
While I was disappointed with the plot, that doesn't mean that others won't get a thrill out of this book. If you grew up in or love the 80s, you'll love all the cultural and musical references. This New Adult coming-of-age story is certainly original, its characters unforgettable, and the dialogue is written with flavourful flare.
(I received an advance copy of this novel via NetGalley).