By the time he was 10 years old, Billy Brown was running a successful little business on the black market and, for the right price, he would deliver it direct to your door in an old carriage pram.
This is the highly entertaining and eye-opening memoir of a young boy growing up in 1950s post-war London. With energy and insight, Billy Brown paints a vivid and lively picture of Britain emerging from the ruins of the war, the hunger for opportunity, the growing pace of modernisation, and the pride and optimism that held communities together. Londoners were intent on getting themselves back on their feet, and it provided the perfect opportunity for a boy with ambition and a lively imagination.
Born in Brixton, south London, in 1942, Billy Brown was a loveable scamp with a nose for mischief. Left to his own devices whilst both his parents went out to work, if there was trouble to be had, Billy would be in the thick of it. Ignoring the shaking of fists from his neighbours, his mother's scoldings, and the regular thwack of the cane on his bottom at school, Billy wheeled and dealed, charmed Woolies Girls, planned coronation celebrations, ran circles around circus performers, and persuaded villains to work on his terms.
What did you love best about Billy Brown, I'll Tell Your Mother?
that a small boy in those times was able to go out and earn money,and have adventures,and enjoy himself at the same time
What was one of the most memorable moments of Billy Brown, I'll Tell Your Mother?
When billy's girlfriend told him she was going to South Africa, I cryed.
What about Bill Brown’s performance did you like?
I lived during that time ,I was a little younger,but I remembered what it felt like to live at that time while it was being read,that man made me belive that he did live through that time.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I laughed at almost every page,I live in Canada, and it's years since I have heard the real cockney accent,and that made all the more real to me,I also had a cry,but it was one of the best books I have read in a long time,more so because it was read by Bill Brown.
Any additional comments?
If there are any more books by Bill Brown I would love to know about them.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I've always enjoyed reading memoirs written by 'real' people (as opposed to celebrities) and Billy Brown was a wonderful post-war character with the gift of the gab and a finely honed entrepreneurial streak.
He got his first job at the age of 9, tying bundles of firewood for Big Mike. This opened doors for him and he branched out to selling firewood from the discarded boxes at the market. Eventually his contacts allowed him to source pretty much anything for the right price. He became known around the area for his huge old pram, with which he transported his goods.
His other pastime was scouring the bomb sites from WWII for metals, bric-a-brac and treasure. He even found an old German gun, which he sold for untold riches.
Unfortunately he was also a bit of a rogue and found himself in trouble on several occasions. I really felt for him when his mother punished him by confiscating some of his hard earned cash.
This is a wonderful reminder of a simpler time, when children roamed the streets for entertainment and neighbours kept an eye out for them. Set in Brixton, it also tells of the relocation of families into the new flats, with running water and heating, and the influx of coloured workers from the Commonwealth to drive the buses and tube trains.
My only criticism arose from the fact that I was listening to the audio version, read by the author - who is now in his seventies. I was aware of a disconnect between the narrative of a young boy and the reading by a much older man.
Engaging, witty, poignant, and entertaining; read by the original author who brings such a quality of warmth and mischief that one lives through the adventures with him.
I loved Billy's Brown. The story was read well. I enjoyed the innocent of childhood but the craftiness of the time in post war.