Sunday, October 6, 2013

Billy Moon by Douglas Lain

Billy Moon follows the life of a grown-up Christopher Robin Milne, better known as the little boy in the Winnie the Pooh books.  While his father made him famous with the books, as Christopher grew to an adult, he found himself disconnected from life and the expectations others had of him.  They didn't see him as he was in reality; they saw the little boy from the books and expected him to be the same.  When he was a small child, he called himself Billy Moon.  As a man, he was married and ran a bookstore.  This quote from the book demonstrates his remoteness from the life he led:

"Christopher had received scores of fan letters since he's opened the bookshop.  Six-year-olds wrote him to ask about his bear.  Adults who'd read his father's books when they were young wrote to ask the same questions.  Everyone wanted pretty much the same thing, and Christopher couldn't give any answers.  He didn't know how to find the Hundred Acre Wood, and he didn't know where childhood went to over the years, or why it was so difficult to feel real joy.  He threw almost all of the letters away because they weren't for him at all, but were rally addressed to a boy Christopher's father had made up."

Gerrard Hand was a young revolutionary student in Paris.  In 1968, he writes to Chris (as Christopher chose to be named) and asked him to come to France.  Chris isn't sure why, but makes the journey.  He arrives just in time to be caught up in the student revolution of 1968, where schools, factories and government offices are taken over by the students, who wish to create a more liberated world.  Chris gets caught up in the revolution, almost by accident, and it allows him to define the difference between reality and expectation in his own life.

This is Douglas Lain's debut novel, and readers will find it to be an exploration of the world and how we perceive it.  It explores the dichotomy between dreaming and lucidity, between liberation and the confines of expectations, between being free or just thinking about it.  This book is recommended for readers of speculative fiction.

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