Authors Spotlight: Elizabeth O’Neill

The Killing of John, John and John by Elizabeth O’Neill

the killing of john

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.

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Top Customer Reviews

Books R Best

20 October 2016

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Yes this was a great story, but for me a tricky read as there is a lot of dialogue written for a Glaswegian dialect. The book flowed more easily once I had tuned in, but maybe a glossary would be helpful to explain the meaning of many of the words. I didn’t take to the main character Lily, but I had to keep reading to find out what happened – and there were some massive surprises along the way. I particularly liked the clever chapter headings.

29 July 2017

Format: Kindle Edition
This is a dark and gritty story set in a fictional Scottish town. The main character, Lily, is a troubled twelve year old girl, which is not surprising given the family dynamics she lives with.
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.

KS the Dreamer

28 August 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

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

Joseph Willson

10 February 2017

Format: Kindle Edition
Where to begin? To say I really enjoyed this book would be a lie, sort of. I did enjoy the book for the style of writing undertaken, in the very strong Gaelic or Scottish drawl that it is mostly penned in. This in itself is a monumental task simply to make it understandable so I commend the author for that. The emotions it stirred up for me were huge, one of the reasons I had a hard time putting it down is I could directly relate to some of the goings on in the book. Long story but let’s just say I am all to aware of “drinking and drugging,” and abuse, growing up in this situation and the trauma it can induce can be horrifically overwhelming at the age of the characters and of course in real life also.
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

Format: Kindle Edition
Original story. It takes a second to get into the flow of the story telling. Once you’re into the dialogue and such, it’s not bad. Not my personal style of writing, but it’s got good bones. I chuckled here and there. I would have preferred the dialogue have less of a focus on dialect. While it does set the scene and really insert you into the story, it does make for rough reading.
Challenging at times, but still a solid story with engaging characters.



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