GLOBAL READING | book reviews Niamh Ni Bhroin Summertime Publishing €13.99* Many people want to write a book in order to express some tragedy from their past. Few do so as well as Niamh Ni Bhroin. She was born in Dublin, suffered abuse and loss and escaped abroad in her early twenties. What is remarkable about this memoir is that the author writes in vivid stories, packed with detail. We see her dancing in her red pleated skirt, brought home from Hungary where her father had been at sea. We feel her pain as the nuns in her convent school force her school friends to shun and treat her like a whore. We laugh when she buys her first bra and we share her excitement as she finally appears to find love on a Greek island. Throughout her life, despite being raped and bullied, she found solace and sanctuary in singing. Later, a Shamanic healing turned her life around. This is a story of hope. Reviewer: Jo Parfitt, www.joparfitt.com
FIVE OF THE BEST ...
Letters Never Sent
Lunch in Paris
Ruth Van Reken Summertime Publishing €12.99 Growing up, Ruth Van Reken could not understand why, despite a life filled with rich experiences, she felt so unhappy. All through her life she was unable to express her emotions of sadness, anger and frustration. Being the child of missionary parents, Ruth felt that it went against her spirituality and faith to complain. In fact the only emotion she allowed herself to feel was guilt: for feeling homesick as a child at boarding school; for feeling angry when her parents left her time and time again to do God’s work; and for feeling disappointed and enraged when her special times with her husband were spoiled by patients’ needs. Ruth's candid journey of self-discovery will resonate with any expatriate as she finds healing by writing the heartfelt letters she never sent when, at age six, she was sent away to boarding school in Africa. Reviewer: Rawia Liverpool
Elizabeth Bard Summersdale €10.50 Mmmm....food, France and words. Could there be a more delicious combination? Elizabeth Bard, an American, lands in Paris, planning to work as an art journalist and maybe take visitors on tours of the Louvre. But then she meets a tap-dancing Breton and falls in love, not only with him, but with food and cooking.
memoirs Perking the Pansies: Jack and Liam Move to Turkey
Jack Scott Summertime Publishing, 2011 €10.99 While many may dream of leaving the rat race behind for a new life in an exotic locale, it's the rare few that actually follow through. When committed British gay couple Jack and Liam move to Muslim Turkey to make their life of leisure come true, you know you're in for an exciting ride. Jack Scott deftly weaves vividly accurate images of expatriate life, capturing the idiosyncrasies and foibles of this all-too-human group of eccentric characters, including vetpats, emigreys, VOMITs and Bodrum Belles. At turns hilarious, saucy, witty, heartwarming and incredibly moving, Perking the Pansies (pun fully intended) chronicles the excitement, alienation, frustration, predicaments and ultimately the satisfaction of living in a different culture. Jack proves that wherever in the world we may be, it is the relationships we surround ourselves with that matter most. No wonder fans await a sequel with bated breath. Reviewer: Linda A. Janssen, www.adventuresinexpatland.com
58 | Global Living | August/September 2012
Her story is sumptuously crafted, with recipes at the end of each chapter that had me running out to find the ingredients so I could try them the next day. The piece I call her 'Nigella Lawson moment', shows Bard standing up in the kitchen eating a freshlymade chocolate moelleux just to drown her sorrows. (I am rather delighted to share that she has now invited me to lunch in Provence, where she now lives.) Reviewer: Jo Parfitt
In this section of Global Living Magazine, we feature five examples of good books in a specific genre. This issue, to tie in with Jo Parfitt's article on writing your life story (p.34), we feature memoirs. If you would like to suggest books for review in this section, please contact: Jo@summertimepublishing.com.
Don't Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs – She Thinks I am a Piano Player in a Whorehouse
Paul Carter Nicholas Brealey Publishing €10.50 Paul Carter is an Anglo-Australian, now based ‘down under’, who has written three hilarious memoirs, with this the first and still by far my favorite. Carter was a 'bit of a lad', who worked offshore for many years, getting up to all kinds of mischief as he traveled the world. With stories involving the kind of thing that makes men guffaw, this is the kind of book that will cause you to laugh out loud on the train. I've given it to many male friends as a gift and all have loved it, as did I. His next book, This is Not a Drill, is the weakest of the three, in my opinion, but his most recent, Is That Bike Diesel, Mate? is definitely up to par and tells the story of Carter's drive across Australia on a motorbike that runs on cooking oil. Reviewer: Jo Parfitt
the singing warrior, perking the pansies, letters never sent book cover art courtesy of summertime publishing; don't tell mum i work on the rigs book cover art courtesy of nicholas brealey publishing; lunch in paris book cover art courtesy of summersdale publishers ltd.
The Singing Warrior
Five of the best expat books around.