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Hickby Andrea Portes
Synopses & Reviews
Foreseeing a hopeless future in barrooms and parking lots, cagey 13-year-old Luli McMullen bolts headlong from the heartland, aiming at Las Vegas where she expects to find herself a sugar daddy. Almost immediately, crooked-bodied Eddie Kreezer, a roving obsessive with a violent streak, and a fading but lovely grifter named Glenda begin to do battle for Lulis head and heart. On their perilous journey westward, Luli is introduced to drifters, lowlifes, strippers, speed freaks, gold-diggers, and a Libertarian with a dog named Karl. Along the way, she learns the truth of American rootlessness and discovers both the power and the peril of her own sexual curiosity.
Part coming-of-age story and part raggedy picaresque, Hick leads us at a blinding pace down broken roads through a world that seems to this extraordinary and indomitable young girl dangerously uncharted.
"Portes's chilling debut tracks a 13-year-old Nebraska girl's hard-going life on the road. Young Luli knows losers — her 'aging Brigitte Bardot' mother, Tammy, and her father, Nick, go at each other every night at the Alibi, the watering hole in hometown Palmyra, Neb. Tammy runs away one morning, and Nick soon follows, leaving Luli alone at home with the Smith and Wesson .45 her Uncle Nipper gave her. Pistol in tow, she hitches rides heading west to Vegas. A crooked man (literally; he 'looks like an italic,' says smart-alecky Luli) named Eddie picks her up briefly before throwing her out of the car. Next comes cocaine-snorting grifter Glenda, who enlists Luli as an accessory to a robbery that goes awry. Glenda takes Luli under her wing. The two cross paths again with Eddie, who rapes Luli and ties her up in a secluded motel. Glenda comes to her rescue, but the confrontation with Eddie ends badly. Luli's flippant narration makes for a love-it or hate-it read." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A bracing drama, a study in tenacity against the gnarled teeth of domestic storms." The Los Angeles Times
"Luli's determinedly breezy narrative voice can be grating, but it also generates sympathy." Kirkus Reviews
This fall, the film festival circuit will be introduced to the indomitable Luli McMullen in Hick, the new film made from the acclaimed novel by Andrea Portes, who also adapted the screenplay. The film—directed by Derick Martini—stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Blake Lively and Eddie Redmayne and features Rory Culkin, Anson Mount, Juliette Lewis and Alec Baldwin in supporting roles.
Hick is the story of Luli (Moretz), a bright kid from a hick town whos had enough and strikes out on her own with some borrowed” cash, a .45 and her wits. On the road, Luli is taken under the wing of a glamorous young grifter named Glenda (Lively), who has experienced worlds barely imaginable to Luli. As the two make their way across the American landscape, they encounter a captivating and dangerous young man named Eddie Kreezer (Redmayne), a disturbing criminal subculture, and some hard truths about what it means to be a young woman on the run, grasping at a future.
Hick the movie is produced by Lighthouse Entertainment and Taylor Lane Productions, with Stone River Productions serving as executive producer.
Though its first-person narrating voice is fast-paced, powerful and unquestionably authentic, Hick is a debut novel.
Beyond this voice, what makes the book so extraordinary is that, although all of the worst things imaginable do befall this 13-year-old girl, she is never defeated by them. Luli always fights back; she always resurfaces.
Set as a coming-of-age novel, Hick tracks the real perils that modern teenagers so often face. And it does so with bright wit, energy, and an indomitable spirit.
This is a book that will grab the reader from the first page and not let go.
And it is written by a woman who is becoming a cultural force in the hippest parts of Los Angeles.
About the Author
Andrea Portes grew up in rural Nebraska, later shuffling between Illinois, Texas, Brazil, North Dakota and North Carolina before attending Bryn Mawr College. She received her MFA in theater from UC San Diego and became a script reader for Paramount Pictures. She now lives in Los Angeles and is a nightlife columnist for several websites. Hick is her first novel.
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