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A Bum Deal: An Unlikely Journey from Hopeless to Humanitarian Hardcover – September 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402244711
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402244711
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,607,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* For a few years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Rufus Hannah was a movie icon. He was the star of Bumfights, a series of underground videos in which homeless people fought each other for money and booze (mostly booze). This moving autobiography, cowritten with Hannah’s friend Barry Soper, takes him from his early years as the son of alcoholic parents, through his time of homelessness and habitual drinking, to the present day (he now works as a property manager and travels the country giving talks for the National Coalition for the Homeless). But the book’s most fascinating and unsettling segment involves Hannah’s years as a participant in Bumfights: he was beating people up and performing extremely difficult stunts, all for the promise of beer (and a vaguer promise of a small fortune, further down the road). Hannah’s recollections of his mental state at the time, of “the monster inside my gut that needed alcohol so bad,” of feeling “more like a pig than a man,” are almost heartbreaking in their honesty and intensity. Expect this remarkable story of personal redemption to receive considerable media attention. --David Pitt

Review

"Hannah's recollections of his mental state at the time are almost heartbreaking in their honesty and intensity...remarkable story of personal redemption.


" - Booklist

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Thank you Rufus and Barry for sharing your story of faith, hope and rebirth.
Steve Scruggs
I am so proud to have read this book, it has helped me with some items in my life that I can take a good, look at.
Jacqueline
I downloaded this book on vacation and was unable to put it down until I had read every word.
kerry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Green VINE VOICE on September 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
'A Bum Deal: A Memoir' is the story of the man who was the face of the infamous website BumFights, Rufus Hannah, aka Rufus the Stunt Bum. It chronicles his journey from early alcoholism and social misfit into a symbol of unrestrained greed and disregard for human life and finally a voice for others with similar troubles. It's a story that sounds clichéd in our times but still occurs all too often. And as is often the case, a human face and voice are what's needed to drive the issues home.

It almost seems Rufus was doomed from the start. Coming from southern working class parents with alcohol problems, he was born jaundiced due to his mother's drinking. Even so, they often resorted to the old southern remedy of lacing the baby bottle with vodka to keep the child quiet. Yet the parents instilled a work ethic into all of their children that served him well when little else did.

His journey takes him through failed marriages and jobs lost due to alcoholism across country and finally to San Diego where he meets Donnie, a fellow vet with similar problems. They migrate to Donnie's hometown of La Mesa where they manage an existence as the only homeless men in the town and are somewhat absorbed into the community. At the insistence of another resident they're hired on as handymen by Barry Soper, a local businessman. The three men are mistrustful of each other but over time they develop a real friendship- especially Rufus and Barry.

A chance encounter with a HS student with a video camera- Ryan McPherson- sets them on the path to notoriety together. Ryan's callousness towards the two men is apparent to Rufus from the start but as he supplies them with the necessities, namely booze, they feel obligated to go along.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So compelling! Could not put it down. Rufus is amazing and Mr. Soper is really a saint. I have already told lots of friends about this great story. It really changed the way I look at the homeless. Those horrible kids who did the filming are contemptible but the people who bought those videos are just as bad. This book is so revealing. This deserves to be made into a movie!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin J. Haeck on September 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How many times has any of us ever walked past a homeless man or woman on a street and wondered what it would take to help? This book shows the potential of taking that extra minute to help your fellow man. Rufus' remarkable journey both into and out of homelessness and the help he receives from a complete stranger who helps turn his life around are monuments to what humans are truly capable of, as much as the kids filming the fights also reveal what humans are truly capable of. The dynamics between the two make for a fascinating read and a story you will remember for a long time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jacqueline on May 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book was so awesome, and I couldn't put it down. The courage of Rufus was so strong, and he got to believe in himself.
When you think that there is no hope, only you can change that. Barry is a strong man in himself. He really thought that with
help, and courage Rufus could make his life something. I am so proud to have read this book, it has helped me
with some items in my life that I can take a good, look at.
It is for sure a winner.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marsha Hayes on April 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What an amazing book, I read it in one night! This book is a story about two different heroes, Rufus Hannah and Barry Soper. Rufus was a homeless man living on the street when he met Barry. I would love to say Barry and Rufus met and Rufus was given a second chance at life right away but a teenager named Ryan McPherson got in the way. This book is the tale from the birth to rebirth of Rufus. Rufus and Barry have given their time to the homeless community and shown America what a small amount of compassion can really do.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Ray VINE VOICE on December 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
"A Bum Deal" chronicles the events in Rufus Hannah's life that result in him living as a homeless alcoholic. While existing with another homeless veteran in La Mesa, Rufus meets a sadistic high school kid who fancies himself an aspiring film maker. In exchange for booze and small sums of money, Rufus and his friend engage in increasingly violent and humiliating "stunts" for the camera, eventually resulting in a fight between the two that leaves one permanently disabled.

The "Bum Fights" video series that resulted garnered much publicity and controversy at the time, so surely some will pick up this book because of the association. Hannah's book is fascinating because he explains how alcoholism and bad decisions led to his participation, and ultimately how ultimately he got sober and turned his life around with the help of his co-author. Hannah's honesty is admirable in that he accepts responsibility for his actions and expresses genuine remorse, although he was also a victim. His descriptions of the sense of humiliation and regret he still faces about the "Bum Fights" videos is gut-wrenching.

Ultimately this story is one of hope, and is very inspirational. I read the book in one sitting, and highly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lamborghini Gal on February 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I had seen the horrible "bum fight" videos, when it hit the news, many years ago. I immediately felt so sorry for Rufus. To see the things he went through, was painful to watch.

This book was wonderful. While it had sad parts, I think it told the story well. I enjoyed reading every part of this book.

Barry Soper is a special human being. Thank God for people like him, who care. I'm just thankful that Rufus finally got out of the life he had lived, for so many years.

Mr. Soper surely helped and was a huge influence on Rufus, but Rufus was the one who did it: Pulled himself up and out!
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