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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

My Thai Girl and I

A couple of years ago, Andrew Hick’s novel “Thai Girl” hit the shelves, and now he has followed that up with “My Thai Girl and I” (ISBN 978-974-9898-90-1, Konstruct Books, and printed in Thailand). However, this is not a work of fiction, but an autobiographical account of his life with his real “Thai Girl” called Cat.
Author Hicks admits to being a disillusioned English lawyer, someone for whom the British society did no longer hold much opportunity or excitement. ‘Grab a Granny’ evenings were not to his liking. He had already become a seasoned ex-pat having spent time in Nigeria and Hong Kong, and in his words, “Like every academic I had spent years cultivating an impressive CV but all of this was useless to me now.” In fact, it would be difficult to imagine any way of preparing a traveler to this country to be ready for life in a place with such very different culture. “When I threw away a career as a lawyer in London to live in a mud house in Nigeria it was a big leap of faith, though settling down in a Thai village is now an even bigger one.”
Hicks has gone the full gamut of living in his Thai village. He has met the in-laws and the extended family of several score, he has tried the food, braved the privations of the privy, slept on the ubiquitous mat and even become involved in the building of his and Cat’s house. In doing so, you get the impression that he has allowed himself to float in the alien culture, though every so often the argumentative ‘farang’ returns, producing even more problems for Cat and her family.
The book describes much of the vagaries of life in Thailand as an ex-pat, such as getting a visa for his wife (on the third attempt), getting married and building his house; however, there are details of village life which are not amusing but certainly illuminating. The road toll and alcohol predominantly.
At B. 450 it is not an expensive read. For all ex-pats who have settled in this country, they will recognize common bonds with Andrew Hicks and his time up-country. It takes a special breed of man (or woman) to desert the land of their birth to come and live in the Kingdom. Hicks is one, and has written about his life here in a very cogent way. Whether all ex-pats would want to live in a small village up-country with their wife’s family is another thing, but author Hicks has, and appears to have made the transition successfully. As his subtitle for this book, Hicks chose “How I found a new life in Thailand,” and that he certainly has, and has described it in minutiae such as when his spirit house for the new house was being dedicated, “I am surrounded by older family members, by scattered flip flops, plastic bags and offerings, by bottles of lao khao which are fast being emptied and by over-friendly dogs that I push away but come straight back again.” This is life in the village.