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Perking the Pansies - Jack and Liam Move to Turkey Paperback – December 22, 2011
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"...the book's originality lies more in its honesty about the grubby reality of expat life that conventional travel literature prefers to gloss over." Time Out, Istanbul
"A really excellent book. Funny and insightful and poignant all at once." Rainbow Book Awards
"There is heartlessness and tragedy here but also a generosity of spirit and positivity, along with a dogged determination to see the best in humanity." Polari Magazine
"At turns hilarious, saucy, witty, heart-warming and incredibly moving." Global Living Magazine
"Empathetic, respectful and pretty acute." Huge Pope, Author and Journalist
From the Author
Number One (in category) on Amazon UK and Canada, winner of a Rainbow Award in two categories and Polari First Book Prize top ten.
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To cut to the chase: In around 2008, a fiftyish gay couple living in England decide to emigrate to Turkey. An astonishing decision, perhaps; but life grows short and carpe diem! What ensues is a semi-autobiography, part-travelogue, part-day journal of the places Jack and Liam go, the people they meet, and the almost daily surprises that life in Turkey can provide.
The book is replete with witty dialog and outlandish characters. The narrator, Jack, while seeming to present their daily life in a straightforward way, tends to throw his husband and their new acquaintances into high relief while keeping his own personality shaded and his own emotions in check. The device works well, mostly because Scott is a fine writer who knows just what he’s doing.
When I discard the “gay romance” filter I usually use to critique a book, I discover that this work is an absolute keeper. When I let the sex, the deep emotion, the “true story” perk under the surface, I’m left with a rarity: a book I will re-read, to prise the hidden gold from every page.
Sly, witty, unique, exceptionally well-crafted…Here’s a book I highly recommend to all my friends, both gay and straight.
The book is hysterical but be warned the quick slashes of irreverent, tongue-in-cheek language will have you spitting wine out your nose and choking on your hors d'oeuvres. Take appropriate precautions.
It is naked humor that creates realism. Jack doesn’t spare the truth. His descriptions strip away all the pretentions and leave the characters exposed for who they really are instead of who they pretend to be. It is uncomfortable and yet there is no hate or cruelty. Jack is not mean. It is uncomfortable because the truth often is.
Jack does not protect himself from himself as he narrates the book. The book gives an intimate look at his life and thoughts. The little details like Jack standing in the mirror making a face lift with his fingers are true-to-life and relatable. It is raw honesty and it makes him a real person. I found myself alternately rooting for Jack and Liam and fearing their naïveté. They became friends and I was invested in their success.
The message is inspiring. Jack and Liam’s journey teaches us that happiness matters but it isn’t always easy. Courage is required. Fear cannot be allowed to gorvern. Waiting for everything to be safe is not the answer. Change will only come from everyday people brave enough to live everyday lives.
“Perking the Pansies” is a great book. It will make you laugh. It will make you think. It will require self-reflection. It will stay with you. You will be glad you read it.
Exotic and beautiful as Turkey is, it is definitely not London (or at least not English) and one cannot help but admire the spirit that prompted Jack and Liam to make the jump. As a frequent visitor to Turkey I could add some hilarious moments - not wanting to take advantage of my host's hospitality, I attempted to do a load of laundry in machines with dials entirely in Turkish. This prompted a near strike of the household help: "Your friend thinks we are not good enough to do her washing!" This, of course, prompted me to pass clothing that had never been worn to be laundered and to bow and scrape and give lire for a job well done.
Kudos to Jack and Liam - You nailed it! Loved it
And I wish I had read the Pansypendix before starting the book and referred to it from time to time when I wasn't sure what a word meant - my bad!! All in all, it was an enjoyable story and wish them all the best in their life in Bodrum. By the way, my husband wants to read it too - he loved the laughter as I was reading and I think he will enjoy it as well. Thank you for sharing your story.