Non-Fiction - Memoir
210 Pages
Reviewed on 07/10/2015
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Author Biography

In a world where political correctness has run amuck, Billie King stays true to her roots and moral code and decides to reveal all about her life in an effort to make the conversation more public and allow awareness to flourish through open discussions. She openly credits her deep love for her mother as a major source of inspiration and explains how it was that that helped her through many circumstances. King goes on to explain how she was able to see through the “drugs” and embrace only the best qualities that her mother had to offer. Precious R. King, now writing under the pen name of Billie King, is no stranger to the spotlight, having penned some of the hottest R & B tracks and has even appeared on Billboards Top 100 twice. King has quite a discography under her belt and this memoir seems to have taken her career to a new level. At a recent press conference, Billie King was quoted as saying, “I wrote my memoir not just to help other girls, but to also help myself. Coming out and revealing intimate details of my life was very therapeutic for me, and I am just thrilled that I can somehow help other people along the way!” King is now reported to be living in Southern California, where she still writes music and screenplays.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Billie is a non-fiction memoir written by Billie King. The author had to grow up quickly when she was a child. By the age of 10, she was all too aware of the abusive and hostile relationship between her father and mother. Her father was always kind and loving to her and her sister, Nia, but the quarrels he had with her mother always led to violence. The parents would always make sure to get their children safely out of sight within their bedrooms before anything happened, but Billie would worry and feel the need to make sure her mother was going to survive the next battle. Sometimes, her mother would get fed up and take her two daughters to stay with their grandmother in the house on Anzac. It was a wonderful place that felt like country with fruit trees in the backyard and horses nearby. Each time they sought refuge there, Billie would hope that it would be for good and that her father would stay away, but they would always pack up their bags once again and go back to him.

Billie King's non-fiction memoir, Billie, is a ferociously honest and incredibly moving story that gripped me from the very first pages. I found myself staying up later and later as I became reluctant to interrupt her narrative. Billie is beautifully written in a style that makes the reader feel as though he were in the room with the author as she related her life story. While she shares so much of her mother's and sister's trials, and her own disillusionment with the men who eventually betrayed and disappointed her, her story never descends into self-pity or moroseness. She remains steadfast throughout, remaining resilient, resourceful and ready to face whatever comes her way. I was particularly moved by her stories about her Uncle Tee, who helped her and Nia with money for food when there was nothing in the kitchen, who became someone she came to care for deeply and who was redeemed by his increasingly unselfish love for her. While King's been writing lyrics and rap all her life, this breathtakingly accomplished memoir is all the more impressive for being her debut literary effort. Billie is most highly recommended.

Mamta Madhavan

Billie by Billie King is a heart-rending and powerful memoir that revolves around the painful circumstances and challenges the author overcomes to emerge as a survivor of abuse. Poverty, drugs and unhealthy relationships reveal the unhappiness that dominates the life of a young girl. The memoir speaks about her strength of mind and how she becomes stronger with each bad experience and starts fighting for survival. As the author shares the experiences, moments and incidents of her life, readers are pulled into the personal world which is fraught with pain, tragedy, rage and abuse.

The memoir is sometimes more like a story than reality as there are many instances where readers will feel alarmed reading about the author's life. The book is honest and stark, and the pictures shared by the author will enable readers to understand more about her life and feel more connected to her. The author is forthright when it comes to speaking about her life and has no qualms about sharing the truth with readers, which makes the book tangible and emotional. The memoir is detailed and the author does not mince words when it comes to sharing the twists and turns that have made her the person she is today. It's a memoir of redemption and healing as we see the author finally breaking free from her hard life and finding a sense of liberation and peace, which enables her to discover her full potential and talent.

Gisela Dixon

Billie by Billie King is a true life memoir written by Billie King in her own words. Billie is a heart-wrenching story of not only abuse and poverty, but also hope and healing. Billie King and her older half-sister Nia are raised by a single mother. Billie’s mother’s life is anything but easy, as she struggles and tries to make ends meet while working as a dancer and, at times, a prostitute. Her affair with her “pimp” leads to the birth of Billie. The book describes the various men and relationships in Billie’s as well as her mother’s life, and how some of her mother’s “friends” took advantage of Nia, and to a certain extent, Billie, and sexually abused them. Billie herself enters into a misguided sexual relationship with a much older friend of her mother, who molests both her and her sister. This is a brutally honest account of Billie’s growing up years and the years of abuse, poverty, and even homelessness she goes through to make her the person and artiste she is today.

Billie is a raw, compelling memoir and I felt that it was written from a very honest and genuine place: no frills, no embellishments, just plain facts. The fact that all three of them (Billie, her sister Nia, and their mother) struggled with these issues at various levels and are still able to love one another and stay strong and supportive of each other is a wonderful thing. It certainly takes courage to lay it all out there and I applaud Billie for coming out with this memoir. I hope it educates people about some of the basic problems in our society and also spreads awareness about sexual abuse in all of its forms, and enables people to recognize and prevent it. All in all, a gritty, compelling memoir that is a must-read!