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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

A Fool’s Diary

A Fool’s Diary (ISBN 978-0-9756950-8-8, Mitraphab Center, Australia) is the third book in Neil Hutchinson’s “A Fool” series.  These followed his best seller Money Number One.

The book follows the usual ‘Dear Diary’ approach, where author Hutchison documents his experiences for that year.

He explains very well just why Pattaya is his preferred option of where to live, and why he does not choose to live in Australia, his homeland.  On his first visit home in five years he found that it had become a nation of gamblers.  Not that this was something new for the sunburned land Down Under, but the scale of the gambling was what took him aback.  He also found Australia not only over-regulated, but also boring.  He muses, “Give me a touch of anarchy, a pinch of mayhem, a tablespoon of lawlessness, a cup of vice and a ton of fun.  In short, give me Pattaya.”  He has many mates in Thailand with the same sentiments, and they don’t necessarily drink in the same bars as the author.

Much of the reminiscences deal with the author’s experiences, but many are also taken from the lives of people he has met, more often than not tyros in Thailand.  He details a bar encounter (one we have all had) where he states the facts of Thai life to Paul, a 62 year old British newbie, who has fallen madly in love with the 24 year old met last week.  “You look like an intelligent bloke, I lied.  Do you really think she is interested in an old fart like you, for any reason other than money?”  In the diary, Paul does see the truth in the advice and leaves sadder, but wiser.  Unfortunately, not all the Pauls are as lucky (as the letters to our Ms. Hillary attest).

The book also deals with the aspects of living with a Thai woman, which make relationships tenuous at times.  He outlines difficulties with communication/pronunciation.  “This morning I was awakened by my Thai angel saying we urgently needed to buy something she called kit chi nut en sil.”  He was unable to find the translation in his Thai-English dictionaries, but dutifully went to the supermarket with her, to find that he was not supposed to go to the foodstuffs, but to an area called in English, Kitchen Utensils!

By the time New Year is almost upon him, Hutchison becomes philosophical and discusses companionship, admitting that he would be disappointed if his girlfriend left him, but concludes, “Companionship is not a problem in Pattaya although it does take time and effort to find sincerity.”

Whilst the cover follows the same basic design as his previous books, I personally believe that author Hutchison lets himself down with the ‘cartoon’ artwork.  The message between the covers is far from being trifling, but is being trivialized by the delivery.  However, it is on Bookazine’s best seller listing, so perhaps he should just keep going the way he is.  I did enjoy the book, and though not belly laughs, there were plenty of sniggers.  At B. 450 a very pleasant and amusing read..