Guidebooks and travelogues only go so far. When Jack Scott and his Civil Partner, Liam, moved to Turkey nothing could prepare them for what was to come — heatstroke, frostbite, biblical floods, Byzantine red tape, lazy censorship, blackouts, bugs from Hell, rancid drains, lunatic drivers, dirty politics, spring-loaded waiters, jaw-dropping sunsets, kindness, generosity and acceptance.
They stumbled upon what Jack infamously described as the mad, the bad, the sad and the glad. Jack decided to write it all down in a blog for all the world to ignore. He called it Perking the Pansies. Against the odds and quite by surprise, Perking the Pansies grew into the most successful blog of its kind in Turkey, attracting a loyal following, the attention of the Turkish national press and hatched an award-winning Amazon number one best-selling book.
Now that Jack and Liam's sweeping Anatolian adventures are behind them, Jack is publishing the best of the blog as a two volume e-book. The uncensored director's cut includes previously unpublished material and some solid home-spun practical advice about living the dream. Visas, tax, banking, working, customs, healthcare, schools for the ankle biters - all the boring stuff is in there. Create Widget. In their beach-side village they have to socialize with their fellow exiles: mismatched couples and a few unhappy singletons. As I discovered when I lived in the Persian Gulf, it's odd how some of the most bigoted of Brits choose to live or work in a land peopled by people they look down on.
Jack and Liam's "live and let live" philosophy does not infect their neighbours. They move to a dinky old stone cottage in the heart of Old Bodrum which feels more like the real Turkey a bit less so today, I'm pretty sure. Mr Scott has a nice way with a metaphor.
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An elderly closet-queen is " mincing through Narnia. The perils of adopting a Turkish baby for two of their friends seem greater than those of being a gay couple, but maybe not: a gay barman they are fond of is savagely murdered. Safely ensconsed back in the UK as are Jack and Liam , I enjoy reading about other people's experiences of post-colonial life in places where most ex-pats still behave like old colonials.
Perking the Pansies is a delicious addition to the tradition which, for me, began with Gerald Durrell. May 14, Lenora rated it it was amazing. I loved this book, I don't know where time went when I was reading it! I knew that the book had been written off the back of a blog and I was curious to see how the blog format would transfer into a novel or whether it would seem like a disjointed series of posts. I was not disappointed, Jack's sparkling prose, and fast paced style was treat to read. Where he really excelled, was in drawing acidic pen portraits of the oddballs, bigots and grotesques inhabiting the expat bubble, I laughed so much I loved this book, I don't know where time went when I was reading it!
Where he really excelled, was in drawing acidic pen portraits of the oddballs, bigots and grotesques inhabiting the expat bubble, I laughed so much and could almost see these people I think anyone who has travelled will recognise more than a few of them - just hope you don't see yourself in any of those portraits! Perking the Pansies is not just a hilarious swipe at Daily Mail readers abroad, it also presents some genuinely warm and affectionate portraits of those that Jack and Liam became close too.
Their respect for both the Turkey and the Turkish people also shines through.
In places it was very moving, yet any mawkish sentimentality was deftly avoided by a wry comment or amusingly acerbic put down in just the right place. At times the novel seems to coast along on the effervescent surface of things, despite breaking out of the ex-pat bubble and finding more like-minded emigrays and locals to befriend, it seemed initially that some of the deeper conflicts of being homosexual in a very traditional country might be glossed over. However this was not the case and Jack did meditate on the contradictions of the ambiguity of sexuality in Turkey and the consequences of being to openly gay.
This is not a deep or profound book - it's not trying to be.
It's a wonderfully good read - funny, acerbic, generous, moving and highly entertaining and I loved the expat glossary at the back - it could easily be the basis of an ethnographic study of Brits and others abroad! I can't wait for more from this very witty writer. Sort of learned this earlier in life when I was living in Greece in the eighties, working as a tour leader, blonde, 20 and single. In many of them I was the only woman, except for the one time when I got offered a drink by a female american tourleader, whom I thought was there for the same reason as I was.
My gay friends slapped their knees and couldnt stop laughing and yet it was the most loving protective mockery. For gay guys know a lot about women. They understand why she says something else than she thinks. What makes gay men 'different' is that they are often more observant, with an eye for a wide range of emotions ranging from suffering to humor or a combination of the two Its this pleasure, I got out of reading "perking the pansies". Even the goodbye at the end of the book was tearful, for I could have read another volume of their adventures and stay on longer.
A unique book.
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Mar 24, Magi rated it it was amazing. Perking the Pansies is like looking at life on the Bodrum Peninsula through the lens of an extremely candid camera. What you get is a laugh out loud narrative of a couple committed to each other, and others they meet along the way that maybe should have just been committed.
From beginning to end, the desire to find out what happens next has you turning the pages at breakneck speed, much the same pace as the story moves itself. Nov 20, Jae rated it it was amazing. Perking the Pansies was my companion on a long and boring journey and boy did it perk me up!
Perking the Pansies - Jack and Liam Move to Turkey
Loved the writing - easy flow and sharp, witty turns of phrase - and the story had me rivetted from the start. I enjoyed especially the way in which the author opened up the Turkish culture for us to see in to its morals, mores and quirks. Richly painted and stylishly rendered. My heart went out to these two guys doing battle with the locals and it was cheering to witness their victories, large and small, Perking the Pansies was my companion on a long and boring journey and boy did it perk me up! My heart went out to these two guys doing battle with the locals and it was cheering to witness their victories, large and small, in a world which they surely knew would be potentially hostile to their gay-ness.
How lovely to discover that at times it was precisely those locals who came to their rescue. The exploits of the other expats had me reaching for a tissue to wipe away the laughter tears - being admitted to the inner sanctum of expatland was delicious! How brave and how exciting to have plumped for such an adventure over quiet retirement - don't we all wish we had the gumption to do something bonkers?
May 01, Lindsay Feliz rated it it was amazing. This book will appeal to all types of people. Lovers of Turkey will enjoy the colourful description of the place and the people; gay men will empathise with the experiences and the feelings expressed; expats will smile and nod their heads sagely at the description of other expats and the description of the highs and lows of expatriate life.
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Perking the pansies is an easy read, very descriptive, it will make you smile in places and bring a tear to your eyes in others. It is an accurate descriptio This book will appeal to all types of people. It is an accurate description of the culture shock experienced by most ex pats, when the dream becomes reality and the hassles and challenges of living overseas in a different culture, with a different language kick in.
I enjoyed this book, and it made me, as a fellow expat realise that I was not alone in my experiences and feelings. May 30, Angela rated it liked it Shelves: first-read-winners. Really glad to have won this in a Goodreads giveaway.
It took me a long time to read because I read it in between other books. I enjoyed it but wouldn't call it a compelling narrative, more a book to dip into when your in the mood.
Jun 08, Kym Ciftci rated it it was amazing. I love this book and it's one I have read more than once. Jacks a real character with a wonderfully witty writing style. His comic timing is excellent and he is equally as brilliant at the dramatic stuff. I do believe this will become a classic. Mar 27, Karen Adams rated it it was amazing. Perking the Pansies is wicked, witty and warm story of Jack and Liam's adventure making their home in Turkey.
Their curiosity about their new friends, foes and neighbours made me laugh and cry. This book should be essential reading for anyone, gay or straight, considering the leap into expat life. Apr 28, Elisa Rolle rated it it was amazing. Mar 15, Barndoor rated it did not like it Shelves: propping-up-the-wonky-table. After hearing about the blog I thought I would give the book a go.
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Firstly I have to point out that being a gay man who has visited Turkey on numerous occasions I was intrigued to find out what kind of social obstacles a gay couple would have while relocating to a Muslim country. Seeing as this was the book description I paid my money and what I read was far from what I expected. The book really lacked any depth, After hearing about the blog I thought I would give the book a go. I found the book to be typically British and blinkered. The whole going abroad to live and not learning the language opposed to remaining in Blighty and complain about the immigrants not learning English, for me was the whole theme of the book.
Rat race or extended holiday? I would take the extended holiday and go to places and learn different cultures and languages, Jack and Liam, however, would rather sit in bars and restaurants and be two faced to their fellow expats. Considering this was to be a true story of their adventure I can honestly say that there was no real adventure, just a couple of frustrated gay men trying to make a big deal out of nothing.
May 03, Becky Sherriff rated it really liked it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This is the first time I have read any of this author's work and I love his writing style. The narrative flowed really well making it easy to read and I was completely engaged throughout.