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Charming Billy
Charming Billy
Author: Alice McDermott
Billy Lynch's family and friends have gathered at a small Bronx bar. They have come to comfort his widow and to eulogize one of the last great romantics, trading tales of his famous humor, immense charm, and unfathomable sorrow. As they linger on into this extraordinary night, their voices form Billy's tragic story and their mourning becomes a g...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780736644259
ISBN-10: 0736644253
Publication Date: 7/1999
Edition: Unabridged
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.

3.4 stars, based on 4 ratings
Publisher: Books on Tape
Book Type: Audio Cassette
Other Versions: Paperback, Hardcover
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Charming Billy on + 337 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
A graceful tale, an extended wake and reflection on the life of a man. Poignant, well-written characters, can't exactly say it was a pleasure to read but the author is very skilled in helping us see a man's life -- the joys, the despairs, the rejection.
reviewed Charming Billy on + 45 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Good ol' Irish immigrant story set in NY. The story is beautiful and sad. Floats between the past and the present with each character.
Froggie avatar reviewed Charming Billy on + 55 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I actually thought this book dragged on waaay to much. About half-way through the book I realized that I didn't care about the characters.

I don't recommend this book.
reviewed Charming Billy on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Book in excellent condition. This story will touch your heart. A secret between friends changes their lives forever. Billy's tragic sorrow juxtaposed against his ability to be generous and charming to everyone he meets makes him a true hero.
reviewed Charming Billy on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I couldn't get into this book at all. I found it a little strange and boring. The characters were lame, the topic was weird, the setting was boring and the story didn't seem to grab me. I strated the book about 4 times and honestly couldn't finish the book.
Read All 37 Book Reviews of "Charming Billy"

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reviewed Charming Billy on
I was very disappointed in this book. I read it because it won a National Book Award, expecting something more. She explored the surrounding characters fairly thoroughly, but at the end of the book I was left wanting for any real understanding of the character of Billy. I also found the Irish cliches a bit overdone. It was a pretty depressing book with a rather fatalistic end, but I also found the writing style poor. She is the undisputed queen of run-on sentences and it makes the reading muddled in many places. In the latter half of the book I actually laughed out loud because she had an entire paragraph spanning two pages that was literally one sentence. No kidding, a single sentence that was over 165 words long (Out of sheer incredulity I had to count) How that type of writing qualifies for winning an award is beyond me.
reviewed Charming Billy on + 80 more book reviews
Really enjoyed it-- I think the author is extremely gifted.
getinmybellykelly avatar reviewed Charming Billy on
I found this book to be extremely hard to follow. It jumps all over the place between different people and different time periods and honestly I did not finish it. I have a whole shelf of books to be read and I'd rather just move on to the next one than try to continue chugging through this when I'm getting nothing out of it. And I normally ALWAYS finish books.
jazzysmom avatar reviewed Charming Billy on + 907 more book reviews
Beautiful even though it is a sad story of a man that has
passed. Friends and family have gathered to eulogize Billy.It is not maudlin but the tale of trading stories paying homage to the life of Billy. Many secrets come out and much sorrow has been in Billy's life. He was funny, a charmer, and a romantic. I liked this read. It was wonderfully written, and left me thinking about what my own friends and family will say when i am gone. Alice McDermott writes stories that leave you thinking and have depth.
sari-lynn avatar reviewed Charming Billy on + 207 more book reviews
Alice McDermott can *write*! This story of two cousins from a large Irish-American family is lyrically told.
SanJoseCa avatar reviewed Charming Billy on + 328 more book reviews
While "Charming Billy" will make your heart ache, you will love the beautiful writing and the emotionally moving story about a New York Irish Catholic family. The novel reveals how good intentions can be as destructive as the truth they mean to hide. The author won the National Book Award for this work.
lectio avatar reviewed Charming Billy on + 88 more book reviews
A complex book that's beautifully written despite the subject matter - an Irish American family's struggles to love, support and come to terms with the relationships they have to each other, one of whom is an alcoholic. What I loved about this book in addition to Alice McDermott's brillian way of telling a story, was the fact that there were no villains. Things were not black or white and there wer no solutions - only very real problems and very real people who loved on another not necessarily as well as they should have, but as best they could.

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