The Killing of John, John and John by Elizabeth O’Neill
Lily Goodwillie is a troubled twelve-year-old girl, who lives with her mother, Millie, and her father, Willie. She struggles to cope with the rejection and emotional abuse of her mother, who works as a dominatrix.
Lily smokes, drinks and uses solvents that offer her an escape from this life. In the end nothing helps and she ends up committing a horrific act that has long term consequences for her and the society in which she lives.
The book is set in a tough fictional Scottish town. It’s the early eighties, John Lennon has just been shot. The punk scene is still evident, though the Jam are going underground and Margaret Thatcher is in power.
Elizabeth O’Neill writes in dialect and describes the horror of a mother’s emotional neglect, mental and sexual abuse, and its traumatic effect on a twelve-year-old girl.
Top Customer Reviews
20 October 2016
29 July 2017
There are a few humorous moments in this book too, but mainly it follows the downwards spiral of Lily’s life.
I have to say I didn’t like most of the characters in this story. That fact normally might have put me off continuing to read, but I was fascinated as to how their lives would unfold, so actually I was eager to keep reading.There is a lot of Scottish dialect text which some readers might struggle with.
Well worth a read.
28 August 2017
Lily is a troubled twelve year old girl, her mother is a well-known ‘dominatrix’, and such things reflect poorly on a child. She takes solace where she can, but in all the wrong places. Drinking, smoking, and sex. She feels her own life’s chapters have no happy endings, something only made worse by her mother, and her insistence she starts to help with her own work. She lives solely for the fleeting escapes, but she can never flee far enough.
A dark story. Reading about lily’s life is like watching a training wreck, it is horrific, you see and understand what is happening, and yet you can’t tear your eyes away. The author has a great talent to writing phonetic dialogue, and it certainly is worthy of praise. However, for me as a reader it detracted from the legibility and flow off the story. I understand it gives a native feel, but feel the odd appropriate word would have been better. There are other readers who will love the authenticity. This aside it is a good read, horrific, and true to the attitudes of the era being reflected upon.
I read this on KU
10 February 2017
In this respect I did not like the book because it was perhaps a bit to “close to home,” yet I do not believe this to be a bad thing. Perspective, self-awareness is never a bad thing. The book is well written, dramatic, shocking at times, suspenseful, funny too in places, yet for me the ending is, well, there really isn’t an ending. Perhaps another book is in the works? I would definitely read it.
Well done Elizabeth.
5 October 2016
Challenging at times, but still a solid story with engaging characters.