Friday, June 3, 2011
Abandoned as in infant because of her incessant crying, Billie Girl is raised by two women who are brothers. Her life, a gender-bending puzzle filled with dark humor, is a series of encounters with strangers who struggle along with what they are given: a bigamist husband, a long-lost daughter named after a car, a lesbian preacher's wife, a platonic second husband who loved her 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.
This book was in no way what I expected. We follow Billie as her life never ceases to change. Billie rarely seems to gain any happiness through her years, but few reoccurring characters bring her peace. Though it seems whenever she gets too comfortable something happens and/or someone dies.
The book spans seventy-some-odd years, beginning with Billie's birth and ending with her death. You feel for her and I personally found myself attached to various characters that may not be conventionally likable characters.
I wouldn't recommend this book to those who are squeamish or shy away from dark themes. It is thought provoking and well crafted.