Charming Billy by Alice McDermott (migrated from bookblogger)

This book caught my eye because the premise was clever:  it is the story that begins with the death of the main character, Billy, and almost works backwards to tell his life story.  Unfortunately, it loses some of its charm, so to speak, in the telling.

Billy was a charmer, yet the story tells of how he was broken, in a way.  An alcoholic, he was clearly nursing a broken heart and takes it out on his wife, Maeve, and his best friend and cousin, Dennis.  Dennis, however, is intertwined with the reason for Billy’s heartbreak and it is up for discussion (and an interesting discussion it would be) who is to blame.

What is disappointing is the writing, which is stilted and somewhat confusing.  The story is told from the perspective of Dennis’s daughter, but it takes a long time to figure this out.  Furthermore, there are a few details that are rehashed too many times, so as to become redundant.

The overall story, though, has its poignant moments, though, and it does hold the reader’s attention.  A dramatically mediocre book, I’d say…!

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