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Book Review: Perking the Pansies

Updated 7 Feb 2012

Jack and Liam, a gay couple, are fed up with working life conditions in London and so decide to move to Turkey. Apart from the regular challenges that expats normally face in relocation, the two embark upon a journey that will indefinitely bring unique tensions to a head. 

Or, as Jack’s neighbour, Colin, bluntly expresses, “Good God Jack, Turkey? You’re a homosexual. There aren’t any homosexuals in Turkey.” 

Perking the Pansies Book CoverWhat results is an extremely funny and very entertaining story not only about adventure, but also about love, betrayal and even murder. 

Jack gives an honest and humourous account of their first year living in a small town in the Muslim world. His descriptions of the emigrants and the different ways with which they adapt to a new environment are spot on. Not to mention, he gives his audience some heartfelt insight about expat life and how superficial it can sometimes be: about how you socialise with people you wouldn’t otherwise socialise with, about how frustrated and unhappy you can be at times and about how things can go very wrong and you can quickly find yourself in a situation where you realise you don’t know who you can trust. 

Besides revealing many of the disconcerting realities of life as a Brit afloat and somewhat disorientated overseas, Jack also shows the fun part of living abroad; giving due credit to the attractive powers of the sun, the sea and a slower tempo.

For Jack and Liam, life in Turkey is anything but dull, and what they experience there makes them often wonder as to whether they should stay in their fosterland or return to their homeland. 

As may an expat could testify to, this state of indecision is almost universal, as there are always advantages and disadvantages in staying as well as in going back. 

So even if you haven’t lived in a Muslim country, “Perking the Pansies” is a great overview to the difficulties of relocation. Not to mention, if you are planning to relocate to the Middle East or a similar location, it’s a prime introduction to some of the cultural idiosyncrasies that you can expect and, perhaps, even struggle with. 

A must read!

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