Billie Girl by Vickie Weaver

Abandoned as an infant because of her incessant crying, and left hanging from a tree in a makeshift sling, Billie Girl is rescued by a passing couple, then turned over to a homeless boy who sells her for $5 to the two women who raise her-women who are actually brothers. Billie Girl's life, a gender-bending puzzle filled with dark humor and lessons on killing out of love, is a series of pivotal encounters with strangers who struggle along with what they are given: her two "mothers," a bigamist husband, a long-lost daughter named after a car, a platonic second husband who loved Billie's adoptive father. Twin themes of sexuality and euthanasia run throughout. In a journey from hard-dirt Georgia farm to end-of-life nursing home, Billie Girl comes to understand the mercy of killing. [via GoodReads]

I've been holding off on this review for a while now. I always find that if you let your thoughts on a book simmer for a while, you eventually are able to put your feelings down into words. 

With that said, this was a weird book for me. That necessarily isn't a bad thing. I truly enjoyed reading about the time it is set in (early 1900s). But since the book really is the story of Billie's day to day life it just sort of lagged for me. I had the hopes that with the introduction of various characters throughout the story something MORE would happen, but it just always went back to the same mundane existence. I had several issues with how detailed some of Ms. Weaver's descriptions of bodily functions and sexual exploration were. I really don't see how they were vital to the story and on more than one occasion I found myself uncomfortable reading it. I understand that for a young girl living in this time, the only way to learn about her body was through self-exploration but, I think the way it was written was a bit too graphic for my tastes (and I'm no prude).

The story deals with some dark subjects - euthanasia and killing for mercy - and to be quite honest, poor Billie never gets a break. Just when you think things might be looking up for her, things take a nosedive. This is not a happy story - on the other hand, I found myself feeling depressed when done with it. But I must say, aside from the dark subject matter, I found the story rather engrossing. I knew what I was getting into when I started reading it so I wasn't expecting a happy, cheerful story, and I have to say that I read it rather quickly. I was intrigued to see what would happen to Billie and the other characters that you meet along the way. My final thoughts are that this is not a book that will appeal to everyone, but for those who are interested in learning more about life in the early 1900s, euthanasia/mercy killing, and delving into the mind of a character willing to practice it, then this might be a book that interests you. For me it was just okay.

This book was provided for review by Leapfrog Press through NetGalley.


Veens said...

I just did not want to read this because ti sounds so dark. But I LOVE the cover!

Emidy @ Une Parole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emidy @ Une Parole said...

I have no idea if I'd like this book or not! And I totally understand when you say that the book is kind of monotonous - I've read so many books just about the lives of characters where nothing special happens, and it is boring at times. You've got me interested in this book, though!

christina said...

I don't think that I would enjoy this book all that much. The summary sounds a wee bit confusing too me, like there is way too much going on. Which is kinda interesting since you say it's day-to-day and that it drags. Maybe I'm a more centralized reader (er, what does that even mean??)

Tales of Whimsy said...

Awesome review!

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