First Sentence: Somewhere in the Bronx, only twenty minutes or so from the cemetery, Maeve found a small bar-and-grill in a wooded alcove set well off the street that was willing to serve the funeral party of forty-seven medium-rare roast beef and boiled potatoes and green beans amandine, with fruit salad to begin and vanilla ice cream to go with the coffee.
Alice McDermott’s mesmerizing fourth novel, Charming Billy, attacks the heart with the bittersweet remnants of an Irish American alcoholic. The collection of friends and family set to say their final goodbyes at Billy’s funeral recapture the essence of his passionate life. He lived his days saturated in alcohol, torturing himself over his lost love.
Random Thoughts: The book goes on to explore whether a lie told in desperation can change the course of a lifetime or would life take the same turn, no matter what a person is told? Charming Billy is a touching, but ultimately, sad
Favorite scene: When Billy meets Eva, both times.
Rating: B (good, but not great. Recommended if you like books about family relationships.)