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Weaving the brackish humor of Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club with the empathy of Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed, J. R. Helton brings to life an obscured, all-too-often ignored slice of the American psyche in this unflinching memoir of blue-collar Texas.In the 1980s, somewhere in Austin, Helton was young, married, and jobless. After a few strung-out years trying to make it as a writer, he was caught in a cycle of drunken, coked-up nights, crashing on friends' couches and looking for money in the morning. Succumbing to the daunting reality of what it means to support both himself and a troubled marriage, he became a housepainter. He sold pumpkins on the side of the road, delivered firewood, ran a crew of illegal immigrants hauling railroad ties across the empty plains of Kansas, and then he painted even more.



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