A novel by Dean Lilleymen
There are lots of chapters in Billy’s life. Fragmented stories that come to life through siblings, friends, lovers and abusers. We see his life through his own memories but also through so many other characters who help us all understand why Billy is Billy. A trouble magnet with a penchant for mucking about. He narrates without filters, a revealing tell all. His voice changing with the years like a twisted Adrian Mole. There are blackouts and there are times where he wished he was. We watch him grow up, innocent, and very much loved except Billy doesn’t know it. Typical lad, he can be thick as two planks at times. But memory is a funny thing especially when booze is involved.
Billy grew up in a time of unplanned pregnancies, stigma and a sanctimonious, unforgiving religion. Admission is the first step to absolution, but everyone is too afraid to admit their sins and crimes for fear of being made an outcast, one can only be left with the madness of guilt, and decades of remorse. It’s a stifling path soothed and at times destroyed by the strong women that surround him. They, and a cruel society have shaped him. The pub is Billy’s church. Blame and a chain of silence, of not knowing what to say, or strength to suppress the demons before they take over is what Billy lacks. His psalms are made flesh. The drink brings out the past, and with that a rebellion that latches onto that part of himself that doesn’t give a fuck, that cannot see consequence and manifests into an unbroken cycle of bad luck, followed by a loss of control and a trail of hurt.
Showing tell tale signs of chronic alcoholism at school, Billy hid the evidence by lying. Busy with his cocktails at a young age, he was given a choice, and Billy chose the one that was easy. The one that gave him instant relief. From what? That is what Billy needs to find out, and sometimes one just cant grasp the answer. Deep down everyone could see the best Billy, the questioning Billy, the inquisitive boy who wanted answers, but that search opened a whole new chapter of unbelievable behaviour. Nurture, nature, or both. A life of sorry is a traumatic existence.
Billy has a taste for music and as the pages pass, my compassion grows in the paper leaves. The writing and story just gets more intense. I cried and winced, smiled in the undertow. Billy has a wonderful humour to squirm in. An extreme cathartic pleasure. He is the ultimate underdog and I so want Billy to win. The reader is spared no secrets, it is all laid out for us to make our own judgement. His life forever a dichotomy of extremes and as bitter as his pint, his words tick the clock of memories that weave in and out. Billy’s fate is in his hands.
Dean Lilleymen’s timeless story has been republished and given a breath of fresh via those dedicated publishers of passion Hi-Vis Press. This release is how the writer intended it to be, with a purer heart and some extra chapters making there way back into the drama. Billy And The Devil is a heartwrencher. You can pre-order your copy here