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2.95 of 5 stars 2.95  ·  rating details  ·  228 ratings  ·  59 reviews
When Dol McQueen is given some valuable stolen goods tostash, the nineteen-year-old prostitute and opium user grabs the chance to start a new life and takes off with the loot--and all hell in pursuit. Her flight through the western wilderness of 1860s America is beset by mule thieves, salt flats, halfsavage kids, and her own addiction. But she is driven forward on this mad...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published July 21st 2009 by Picador USA (first published June 10th 2008)
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God knows I love a spunky historical prostitute. Given that, it is serious business to say this is probably the best book about a spunky historical prostitute I HAVE EVER READ.

This is an excellent book about being a lady, a friend, a daughter, an addict, a professional and an adventuress. Also the writing is fantastic and you will learn new turns of phrase.

Here's the first sentence:
"I expect you have the consolation of religion, or the guidance of a philosophy, but when me and the girls get f...more
Yee Haw! Rolling, Rolling, Rooling...and sure thing, a little Drooling...on all that Opium being lugged around The Wild Wild West by all manner 'o folks. Gussied up tarts, full-fledged prostitutes, them Chinamen, gunslangers, gold diggers—both variety's, losers, winners, yep, you just never know who or what kind of person that is riding up behind you in this lawless land. This was a fun, rollicking, ride through the Old West, written by an award-winning playwright from across the pond. Great job...more
This humdinger about a gang of San Francisco teenage prostitutes (!) who set out to start anew in one of the silver mining boom towns of the Sierra Nevadas is both hugely entertaining and very, very naughty:) On route, the girls encounter a malevolent pimp who is on the run from the San Franciso mob because he stole an invaluable case of solid opium, which he's having a hard time fencing. This puts him in a very bad mood, where he's just as likely to choke a girl to death as he is to kiss her. T...more
Doug Bradshaw
I enjoyed the book a lot. I guess it was a historical novel, but it was also a study of the world of drug addiction. Here are some of my miscellaneous thoughts about the book:

1. Many books are great along the way and it's not the destination that is so good, but the journey getting there. I would say that the destination in this book, where our main 19 year old opium addicted call girl realizes finally, that her whole existence and actions were seriously tainted by her addiction, was the thing...more
Oct 11, 2010 Donna rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of quirky female lead characters
Recommended to Donna by: the writer was my Uni lecturer
My attraction to reading 'Missy' was that it's author, Chris Hannan, was my playwrighting tutor at university. I saw it in the bookstore and I was compelled to read it. I'm glad I did.
The story centres on Dol McQueen, the protagonist and narrator of the book, who's way with words is truly unique. We follow Dol as she simultaneously lands in trouble with a suicidal pimp, tracks down her alcoholic mother, and battles her own addiction to opium. And it's set in the 'Wild West' to boot!
Hannan crafts...more
I never expected to like this book as much as I did. There are passages contained within that took my breath away, very well and beautifully written sentences.
This biggest surprise is the sort of yin/yang quality of this book. On one end, you have the rollicking, wild-west setting; on the other, you have a deep-thinking, opium-addicted protagonist who is searching for something just beyond her reach. All the while, you think she is searching for something very obvious, but when you get to the en...more
Prostitutes, laudanum, mayhem and absolutely gorgeous writing set in 1862 silver-mining Nevada. 'Picaresque' doesn't begin to describe this novel, by British playwright Chris Hannan, who takes great delight in showing off the ugly, unromantic side of the American West that never would have been featured in a John Wayne movie.

The story unfolds through the eyes of Dol McQueen, a flash girl with an adventurous spirit and one hell of a laundanum habit, who comes into possession of a rum crate full...more
Robyn Hunt

Missy, 27 April 2008
By R. Hunt "Robs" (Edinburgh)
This book is amazing on every level, I totally adore it and cannot recommend it highly enough. Set in California in 1862, this is tale of the old American west with a difference - it's some 'flash-girls' that go off and have themselves a high old adventure in the middle of the Nevada desert. Oh, yes, and there's a crate of stolen 'Missy' (Opium), an evil pimp, some creepy lawless kids, and some Indians too. They've a lot to contend with.

Thanks to my friend Ann for this one. A very unique story and I couldn't stop reading it. Dol McQueen is a 19 year old,calls herself a Flash Girl (lives in a whore house) and she had had a hard life. She is constantly looking out for her her mother. But her mother could care less about her, and is not afraid to let her know this upfront since she was a child. A hard thing to bear at such a young age of 8 or 9. Dol is more a mother to her mom, than her mom will ever be a mother to her. She is add...more
For me, this book was a difficult one to rate. There were some parts that were absolutely amazing with imagery and thought, but then there were parts that just left me bored. I enjoyed Dol's voice and her experiences and I found the book to be fascinating in its description of the Old West and its mining towns. I was hooked on Dol's crazy journey through the desert and the salt flats, but there was just something about this book that prevented me from absolutely loving it. Perhaps it was the end...more
Oct 01, 2008 Judi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Rachel, Stef, Chris, Susan
Recommended to Judi by: April
The first sentence lights the keg.

"I expect you have the consolation of religion, or the guidance of a philosophy, but when me and the girls get frazzled, or blue, or rapturous, or just awfully so-so, we shin out and buy ourselves some hats."

And so the story of Dol, a young addled opium prostitute, begins. She and a couple of the "girls" set out from San Francisco to the gold fields of the Eastern Sierra in hopes of more lucrative prospects and some good times.

A delicious treat for fans of a go...more
I loved the originality of this book which is the story of an opium addict in the wild west days. However, the plot becomes diluted and loses focus for me. The book could have been fantastic with some plot corrections (maybe I should be an editor?). The author has a powerful sense of language and uses it to create disturbiing scenes. Their are images from that book that will stay with me for a very long time.
Read it if you like reading stories of the wild west.
Sep 02, 2008 Jason rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Civil War era prostitutes
Recommended to Jason by: Autumn
Oh, this is a fine book. Told in the first person in unapologetic and delightful vernacular, Dol's story is at turns hilarious and tragic, full of dubious ne'er-do-wells, rascals, flash girls and deeply weird criminal lunatics. It isn't nice - it's rough, ugly, and occasionally astonishingly violent - but it's well realized and the narrator's pragmatic, enthusiastic, and often willfully misguided approach to life can't help but win you over.
A western that doesn't follow a cowboy, a rancher, or a sheriff, but instead profiles a "flash girl" (aka, prostitute), Dol, who's addicted to opium. The writing makes me think of the way people talk in "Deadwood" -- flowery, with curses. It's a good picture of what it's like to be an addict -- to see the flaws in others and totally miss your own.
Janet Gardner
I liked, but didn’t love this book. It’s the story of 19-year-old Dol McQueen, a prostitute in the rootin’-tootin’ wilds of the Olde West, who struggles with her addition to opium (The "Missy" of the title is laudanum.), her troubled relationship with her alcoholic mother, and her inability to have or be a real friend. Oh, and the fact that a violent criminal is after her because she sort of stole his large and incredibly valuable stash of raw opium. The writing was good, the historical setting...more
David Rogers
A swift, violent, weird, and often funny post modern western about a box of liquid opium (here referred to as "Missy") and a bunch of protitutes (here referred to as "flash girls") who get their hands on it. Also contains evil pimps, shoot outs, a band of crafty feral children after the missy, and much fun.
What a trip- Dol is a fantastic anti-hero - funny, tragic, infuriating, streetwise, naive, loving, loyal and above all drugged out of her mind. As others have said-this is Deadwood meets all the feisty heroines you've had the pleasure to meet. And written by a Scot, male, playwright? Who would have thought!
Very interesting story of survival . . . or not . . . of a group of prostitutes who travel from San Francisco to Salt Lake City. Sex, booze, drugs, murder, love. The resiliance of the human spirit (and body) is incredible.
Such a fun read! I really hope the Dol McQueen character returns. Also, a movie version would be welcomed, particularly from those of us going through 'Deadwood' withdrawal. *shakes*
the "voice" of the narrator was pretty hard to understand in the beginning, but once i got through that it was entertaining.
Samantha Steele
I really liked it! but, then I like books about addiction!
Like Deadwood with chicks.
Robyn Hunt
This book is amazing on every level, I totally adore it and cannot recommend it highly enough. Set in California in 1862, this is tale of the old American west with a difference - it's some 'flash-girls' that go off and have themselves a high old adventure in the middle of the Nevada desert. Oh, yes, and there's a crate of stolen 'Missy' (Opium), an evil pimp, some creepy lawless kids, and some Indians too. They've a lot to contend with.

Written using first person narration we see the world throu...more
Dol McQueen is a mess and yet alot of fun - from a distance that is. You root for her even as her plans get more and more dangerous. This is "girls just want to have fun" in the Wild West Deadwood time frame. In fact, imagine if the youngest, sassiest and most fearless prostitute in Deadwood took off with a few fellow saloon gals and started their own show and this would be it. To say she's flawed would be an understatement. She has serious "Mommy" issues - her elegant, alcoholic Mama is in a do...more
The description of this book & the positive reviews (especially the one from Entertainment Weekly in which they said, "An adventure so hair-raising it makes Deadwood look positively staid in comparison. There hasn't been a fictional character this appealing and outrageous in a long, long time.") led me to purchase this book. Unfortunately, after reading the book, I feel completely misled & would caution everyone else before purchasing. I did not find the story hair-raising or exciting at...more
AJ LeBlanc
I grabbed this one off the shelf knowing nothing about it.

Opium addicted, prostitute Dol follows the silver boom miners looking to make money and have a fabulous time. Nearly permanently gonged out on missy, she wanders aimlessly from party to party and her next dose. She stumbles upon a violent pimp and his huge stash of missy, steals it, and then must figure out how to get rid of it before the original owners kill her and everyone she knows.

While all of this is happening, her band of flash-gi...more
Mark Farley
This is a life or death, edge of the seat, thrill of a story set in the very Wild West of 1860s America, that takes us through California, Iowa and Arizona on the trail of a crate of opium on the run from Chinese gangsters, scalping injuns and the law themselves as our loose moralled and potty mouthed heroines avoid skirmishes, shoot-outs and violence fresh from the drifting Californian plains. But despite this, Hannan's book is entirely heart-warming and infectious as he explores quite evidentl...more
Andrea Dowd
I picked up "Missy" at the library solely based on the sweet cover art. The premise seemed, well, promising. A prostitute, who is addicted to opiates, from San Francisco travels east to a booming mining town. I went into the story understanding Dol, the main character, would be an anti-hero character. The trouble with Hannan's novel (and the reason I stopped reading it) is that it was uninteresting. A young prostitute, who's an addict, has abandoment issues. A pimp who attempts suicide in the wo...more
What a misguided pile of crap. Love able character? Where? Brilliant turn of phrase? In what rat hole? I find it insulting that my public library spent good taxpayer money buying it. Even more insulting that they threw it into a grab bag, but then again, that's probably the only way any decent reader would ever even try it. Don't waste your money or your time.
Fiction A-Z Book 'H': "Missy" by Chris Hannan

Ah, sometimes the hoary old cliches prove true. And the one that proved true in this case was "Don't Judge a Book by its Cover".

"Missy" jumped out at me as I was scanning the 'Hs', because it's got a beautifully designed cover. So I read the jacket description (essentially boiling down to 'Laudanum addicted prostitute has adventures in the Old West') and saw that it was a Western written by a Scottish playwright. I was sold.

Now I have buyer's remorse....more
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