Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Life With Billy by Brian Vallee

This book Life With Billy written by Brian Vallee is the true life story of Jane Stafford detailing her years of abuse at the hands of her common law husband Billy Stafford. This book covers not only the abuse she suffered but also tells of how this man abused his children and terrorized even the neighbours. Everyone was scared of this man even the grown men who knew him and lived close by.

One evening after a night out Jane and Billy Stafford (she used his surname but there was never a legalized marriage as such)Billy ordered Jane to sit with him in the truck outside their home while he slept. This had happened many times before as he would be too drunk to make the short walk to the house. Jane then, without making a noise, managed to signal to her son who was inside the home, to bring out the gun. Even then she was too scared to disobey his order to remain in the truck. Her son brought out the gun. Jane asked her son to go back inside and when he was safe inside the house she took the gun and shot Billy to death.

I thought I should post a review on this book as this is the book that I owe my true crime addiction to. I had watched a program on TV at a friend’s house on the Crime & Investigation channel. I could not afford to pay for the C&I channel back then so I was in absolute awe at what this channel was showing. After watching this program where they mentioned the book Life With Billy, my friend then helped me to find it on the Net. We could not find it at any local bookstores but we did locate it at Amazon. I still have the receipt with me (Amazon order no 103-8453584-9802217,sad hey). I ordered four books at the time. Life With Billy, Missy’s Murder, Perfect Victim and Reasonable Doubt. The books were USD 26.31 and the delivery charge came to USD 103.92 adding up to USD130.23 for four books!!And that was back in April of 2007.Oh the desperation……..But that obviously did not deter me I just put plan B into action and I found a local site which supplied the true crime books I needed at a MUCH lower price, thank goodness. The problem is the local site still does not have Life With Billy so there is no link for South African readers for this book.

Back to the task at hand.I really and truly enjoyed reading this book despite having seen the program already.The years of abuse that Jane Stafford endured are written in the first person by Jane Stafford as she collaborated with Brian Vallee on this book.Obviously then Brian Vallee’s writing comes into play when we get to the court case.I especially liked how the court case was written with the dialogue exactly as per the court transcripts.It is really easy to follow and keep track of everyone when it is written that way.Descriptions are provided only at the beginning and end of each witness appearance.I would recommend this book as it is a surprisingly easy read considering the subject content.
Life with Billy

Jane later went on to become a very public and loud voice in the fight for the protection of women against abuse.She also helped in writing the following book

In books based on fiction everyone lives happily ever after at the end.In real life this is seldom the case.Ten years later there was more drama.If you are interested in finding out what happened to Jane Stafford you can go here. I would not advise on doing this if you have not yet read the book and would like to read it sometime.

I read this book in April 2007 and it has 254 pages and 8 pages of pictures.The following are also links to other books written on Billy and Jane Stafford and a movie called Life With Billy has also been released although judging by the reviews on it,it is still a good idea to get the book as the movie does not and cannot possibly include everything that happened.

and also
Life After Billy

P.S The main image above is my own picture that I took as Amazon does not have an image so please excuse the bad quality.


  1. A memorable book indeed.

  2. For you as well?
    That is very interesting!!!!!

  3. The book "Life with Billy" so closely resembles my life with Jim except that he died of natural causes.

  4. A read that still haunts me to this day, at least 15 years after first reading it.


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