Billy Moon author Douglas Lain
Review by Daniel Shea of Veterans For Peace Chapter 72
September 16th 2013
“Billy Moon was Christopher Robin Milne, the son of A. A. Milne, the world-famous author of Winnie the Pooh and other beloved children’s classics. Billy’s life was no fairy-tale, though. Being the son of a famous author meant being ignored and even mistreated by famous parents; he had to make his own way in the world, define himself and reconcile his self-image with the image of him known to millions of children. A veteran of World War II, a husband and father, he is jolted out of midlife ennui when a French college student revolutionary asks him to come to the chaos of Paris in revolt. Against a backdrop of the apocalyptic student protests and general strike that forced France to a standstill that spring, Milne’s new French friend is a wild card, able to experience alternate realities of the past and present. Through him, Milne’s life is illuminated and transformed, as are the world-altering events of that year.”
I just finished this excellent book by Mr. Lain – the timing for publication couldn’t have been better as in Paris of 1968 when a growing opposition to U.S.A.’s War in Vietnam was spreading across the globe, an opposition that recognized the loss of one’s own freedoms in a world seized in the grip of an iron fist of fascism.
Today people here in the U.S. & everywhere in the world have been speaking out against US military strikes against Syria. A revitalization of the anti-war, peace & justice movements are growing. There is much to be gleaned from this fictional look back at our broken history, what inspired, what worked, what didn’t.
There seems to me the story leaves us with lingering questions – why didn’t it set the world rightside up? Maybe the answer is, there are more chapters to this story than anyone ever expected. Life is always just a beginning, there is no end, the end of an actor in the play of life dies and leaves the stage but the stage & the play continues, each act just another beginning. Are we looking for the end or a utopian theme? What is our goal, how would we write the script, what characteristics would we ascribe to ourselves?
These are the same questions that faced the students and workers in Paris of 1968 and Mr. Lain takes us through the streets of Paris with Christopher Robin Milne, two activist students Gerrard and Natalie and a bear named William in a surrealistic, magical realism fantasy of dreaming a revolution while living in and making a revolution.
Who are we, what would we do if fascism creeped into our everyday lives? Would we be revolutionaries, zombies or collaborators? Well believe it or not fascism is on your doorstep, it is time for you to decide what actor/character you will bring to the stage.