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Ivor Slipper

Living with Johnny by Nigel Gordon

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I just hope you all feel the same when we get to the end. There are only 59 chapters to go.

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Another good chapter. I’m impressed with Johnny, who seems to be finding his feet very quickly after deliberately launching himself into the unknown. Mike and Anne seem to be getting to grips with the new situation pretty quickly too.

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It's still going well, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's chapter. It's good to see that at least some of Johnny's possessions have turned up, at last, though I'm a bit surprised that amidst all the legal activity Bernard hasn't been given instructions to ensure everything was forwarded ASAP. But I think the most poignant moment so far has been Johnny's line "I thought if I had sex with them, they would love me." Poor lad.

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Bernard has not done anything because he is not aware that the stuff is missing. Mike has not thought of telling him because there is just too much other stuff going on. You know, like getting married. Things just get dropped between the cracks, until they come back to bite.

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I just want to say how much I am enjoying “Living With Johnny” by Nigel.  Not only is it filled with great characters, each one unique and each compelling the reader to get involved in his or her particular issues and difficulties, but the story is also constructed around multiple plot lines, intertwined so skillfully our attention is constantly challenged.  At present there are so many balls in the air I am quite dizzy.  I fully expect the main character to crack from the pressure of the responsibilities he has taken onto himself to ensure a safe and secure outcome not only for his own family but also for the young gay men he has taken into his care.
And, not least, I am learning an extraordinary amount.  This story is built up from carefully vetted facts about many of the elements of contemporary English life that could completely baffle an overseas reader. Ordinarily most storytelling on both sides of our pond assumes that readers along for the ride somehow possess basic knowledge of even the most arcane practices and customs, and these matters tend to hum along just below the surface of many stories with nary a nod toward a reader’s possible confusion and misunderstanding.  However, Nigel takes the time to explain, whether it is the challenges of surviving as a free-lance technical writer, or the requirements surrounding home sales and purchases, or the film industry, or Jewish dietary practices, or boat design and boatbuilding, or the peculiar regulations affecting English historical sites and listed buildings.  I feel I am getting quite an education.

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