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She also befriends a lost woman by the name of "Jas" who is subject to terrible emotional abuse from her husband, Terry. Terry is a despicable human being; at the height of a drug-fueled rage, Billie ends up killing Terry and using Micky to help her hide the deed.

The cost is high; Micky who has loved Billie unreservedly can no longer face her. As far as anyone else knows, Terry has "disappeared". Jas becomes a totally druggie, barely able to care for her beautiful young son, Natty. As a kind of compensation for her act, Billie cares for Jas and Natty, providing Jas with money when she needs it and acting as a godmother to Natty.

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Twenty years go by; in a horribly misguided moment, Jas's mother volunteers the story of Terry, who everyone thinks has abandoned the family for his own purposes, to a newspaper. The reporter lays bare the pain of the family and reopens all the old wounds that Billie has been so carefully covering. Natty is a young man who has naively believed that his Dad would return and their life would turn magical. Now, he spirals out of control himself, and the whole carefully constructed world that Billie has built begins to crumble.

Billie never really repents for having murdered Terry; rather, it is the impact of his loss on the people that she loves that she regrets. The diary structure worked well to reveal Billie, layer by layer. Denby has an almost poetic writing style; there were passages that I read over and over again because they were so beautifully written. In spite of the dark elements of the book, there is never a sense of despair, even when the worst possible things happen.

BILLIE MORGAN is clearly a book of hope and love and redemption, showcasing a "murderer" who can be warm and honest and compassionate, a woman who has been through incredible pain and is battling to conquer her own demons. Any flaws in the book were irrelevant to me. There was one particular scene where my jaw literally dropped.

Brilliant in every way, it receives my highest possible recommendation. Mar 07, Ape rated it liked it Shelves: This is a fantastically well-written book, but rather grim and depressing in a realistic way. Life's crap at times and for some people there isn't a way out of the hell that they're born in to. It's about Billie Morgan, a Bradford lass whose father leaves the family when she's still young - she never gets over it. Her mother is a self-absorbed, selfish uppity what have you; so Billie's got some confidence issues under the surface.

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She hangs out with hippies, has a bad time, then gets in with a bi This is a fantastically well-written book, but rather grim and depressing in a realistic way. She hangs out with hippies, has a bad time, then gets in with a biker crowd, has some more bad times that end up with murder and the break up of her marriage. She then spends the next years helping out hopeless case drug addict Jas and her little son Natty, who grows up into a messed up, violent, drug abusing youth.

They live on a depressing council estate block of flats type of environment, where no one really has a hope for anything in their lives. You'd almost want to say, by, it's grim up north Feb 18, Emma Glaisher rated it it was amazing. By all means read this.

Billie Morgan by Joolz Denby

But best of all, listen to the audio version read by author Joolz Denby. I thought it might be a bad idea reading your own book unless you're Stephen Fry but Joolz really brings the book alive. It is a harrowing book. Drugs, bikes, dysfunctional families and murder. But you have to like Billie. Where I once teetered a little on the brink, she plunged in with both feet and plumbed the depths.

Oct 18, Plum-crazy rated it really liked it. Natty's little bombshell being a prime example! I really enjoyed the book. Dec 06, Lesley rated it really liked it. Re-read first read more or less when it came out. Aug 30, Peter Chandler rated it liked it. This is not an easy book to enjoy, not because it is badly written, but so much of the story is particularly depressing. Though there is a certain amount of humour to lighten the bleakness it's far from the easiest of reads.

Still it does do a very good job in creating a an emotively engaging protagonist along with an occasionally beautiful, yet believable vision of its Bradford setting. That being said, it does retain a tendency to perhaps overdo it at times. There is a danger in some ways of t This is not an easy book to enjoy, not because it is badly written, but so much of the story is particularly depressing. There is a danger in some ways of the plight and stories of the outsider and underclass becoming something of a Dickensian parody, particularly towards the end of the narrative when you think things might be difficult to get much bleaker.

On the whole the narrative just about manages to steer tself away from that, although there are some dodgy moments. It is a particular problem for this book that is so concerned with asserting itself as providing a genuine and realist vision of the lives of those on the edges of society. It runs into that most sticky dichotomy of any realist novel that it is still a fiction and can only represent its realism through fictitious means, archetypes and plot devices.

This becomes particularly problematic with the more didactic elements of the story, particularly its conclusion, which rather seems to want to have its moral cake and eat it in a way that just seems a little too unlikely. Still, the violence and drugs and particularly the narrator's emotional turmoil are all generally believable, if some of the artistic descriptions and sheer depths of misery sometimes threaten to verge on becoming the parody it insists it is not and it is that continual insistence of being the truth of the real world that in fact continually reminds you of its fictitiousness.

Still this remains a strong and engaging story, driven by an emotionally complex and believable central character whose strong voice does well to draw the reader into their difficult and troubling world. Though it may perhaps draw a little too much attention to its own fictionality than the complexity of its setting and subtly of its devices can withstand. It is not quite, therefore, as fully absorbing as it might be as a story, which is a bit of a shame, since it weakens the ideas it clearly wants to impart by being so. For all that though, it's a strongly written and moving piecing of work than generally manages to bring a story from the complex and troubling edges of society to colourful, powerful and believable life.

Mar 19, Simon rated it really liked it. Billie Morgan by Joolz Denby www. But then I've liked Joolz back far enough to the days when she never used her surname on anything and this novel follows her normal topics of life in and around the badlands of Bradford in Yorkshire and in this case we are following in flashbacks the life of Billie Morgan who as a youngster had been queen bee at the Devils Own Motorbike club, of course women weren't allowed to be actual members and Joolz paints a picture of a time when just about every village large enough to have a couple of Ginnels would also have at least one motorbike club either of the hells angels or devils own style varieties and we journey into the dark heart of the one she belonged to.

The story slowly unfolds as do the lives of the characters as they intertwine and fracture and fall apart in the messiest of situations I had almost figured out the main twist before the end as Natty's problems come to a head as his mum Jaz's life falls to pieces and Billies role in her life is revealed in all it's nasty reality. Yes this book clings to the "It's Grim Oop North" cliche quite tightly, but it's also very well written and a good story and well worth reading if not Joolz best book yet.

Oct 19, Ian Mapp rated it liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Chosen because it was on the Orange Prize shortlist in and then was strangely pleased to see that it was written by the poet associated with New Model Army. Simple story of an ex-biker chic from the 70s with a temper who killed her drug dealer and then had to face the consequences as it was investigated in present day bradford.

Narrative driven with lots of great insights about city life and providing a voice for the working class Examples of include the observ Chosen because it was on the Orange Prize shortlist in and then was strangely pleased to see that it was written by the poet associated with New Model Army.

Editorial Reviews

Examples of include the observation that when she had tatoos in the seventies, she was seen as a freak and now everyone has them. The story is made a bit more complex by the fact that billie has now made friends with the girlfriend of the drug dealer that she killed and has become part of her family. You do wonder where the story is going or what the twist is and it is revealed rather unnecessarily that the son has been sleeping with his mother. Not sure what this adds to the story. Sparkling dialogue and great descriptions and an interesting, easy to read story.

Will look out for more of her work. Jan 13, Jenni Morrison-Smith rated it it was amazing. I picked this up at the library, based on the intriguing cover. In a nutshell, without spoiling anything, the book tells the story of Billie Morgan, a former biker, who grew up in lower class England. Billie has some dark secrets that she can't forget. She's now a more mainstream member of society, but secretly waits for her past to catch up with her. There is a lot of English slang in the dialogue, which made it a little clunky to read at first.

But halfway through, I found that I couldn't stop I picked this up at the library, based on the intriguing cover. But halfway through, I found that I couldn't stop reading. There are some extremely dark issues dealt with here, such as depression, drug abuse, poverty and outsiderism in general. The author, Joolz Denby is especially skilled at writing about the effects of a life lived in the darkness of depression.

I can't say much more about the story without spoiling it, but if you're up for a very dark read with an emotionally difficult ending, I would suggest this book. When it was over, I found myself wishing the character was a real person that I could meet. Sep 24, Pam rated it really liked it. Billie holds a secret about one of their old friends, Terry, who has gone missing -- Terry will not be returning. The story is told through Billie writing in a diary about what happened.

Read for a mystery group Jan 20, Ali rated it liked it. A book I got from bookcrossing - now passed on. Billie Morgan is not a pretty story. It is however a well written novel, with a strong authentic voice, and it is certainly a very compell A book I got from bookcrossing - now passed on. It is however a well written novel, with a strong authentic voice, and it is certainly a very compelling read. The central character, Billie, is a year-old woman who runs a new age shop in Bradford , England.

However, she keeps a dark secret, that when younger and part of a biker gang , she murdered Terry, an unpleasant drug addict and the father of her godson Natty, and covered it up with the aid of her lover Mickey. The novel takes the form of a confession written by Billie when she fears a journalist will expose her past. Most reviewers noted the strong central character and the abundance of depravity, violence and criminality, while differing on its literary merits.

The New York Times praised the central character's verve, which they felt made up for the other less well developed characters. Linda Herrick in the New Zealand Herald found it overwritten, with so much crammed in, and a tendency for over-the-top melodramatic passages. Publishers Weekly found it "fascinating" but hard to read, with a "raw power". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.