French, Albert. Billy. New York: Penguin Books, 1993.
This is in every way the wrong kind of book to be reading at Christmas time. It’s full of racism, prejudice, violence and hate. Ten year old Billy makes a huge mistake. With twelve year old friend, Gumpy, Billy explores a local pond only to be confronted by the owner of the pond’s daughter, an older girl named Lori and her cousin. Lori is a mean white girl who doesn’t take too kindly to black boys splashing in “her” pond. The situation gets out of control and the entire novel spirals into death and disaster. It’s tragic for both families involved; for the entire community for that matter. Sadly, it’s also typical of Mississippi in 1937.
Sorry this review is so short. I really couldn’t wait to finish this book. It was so sad I didn’t pay attention to thought provoking lines. Mea culpa.
Reason read: Mississippi became a state in December and Billy takes place in Mississippi…
Author fact: Billy was Albert French’s first book.
Book trivia: This book will tear your heart out.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “Southern-Fried Fiction” (p).