First I must start this review with a brief apology to the Wilson Arts Project, they sent me this book a month or two ago and I’ve struggled to find time to read it – much less review it. But we’re here now…
‘Travels With My Nephew’ is an exquisitely written tale, of a protective aunt and her young gay nephew. The story is told through a series of interviews with the formidable Dorothy DeMoore. Ms DeMoore started off life in the East Midlands, in a working class household but something inside her knew she was always destined for more. She tells us how life back then was dominated by one of two equally important things: work and church.
Her nephew, not named in the book (for his privacy), was a quiet well behaved young man who didn’t quite fit in back home either. He’d spent hours playing in his aunt’s dresses and heels, as well as practising in a pop group for a local chapel show. Eventually the nephew leaves home for university in London, a few months later Ms DeMoore receives a letter from her nephew saying he’d met the man of his dreams – and that’s where the adventure truly starts.
We follow Ms DeMoore and her nephew through London riots, to hipster New York, how Ms DeMoore ends up becoming a cabaret dancer, how a Caribbean cruise wasn’t so much a holiday but a mutiny. Then as Ms DeMoore settles in to a life of dancers, actors and style in Paris her nephew starts to discover San Francisco for himself.
Then there’s the AIDS pandemic of the 1980s. Instead of covering it in depth as so many other stories from this time have tried to do, ‘Travels With My Nephew’ peppers the book with the odd conversation that people were having as it was all going on. It manages to be a integral part of the second half of the book without actually being what the book is all about.
I wholeheartedly enjoyed reading ‘Travels With My Nephew’, it was an incredibly engaging read. It made me laugh frequently and well up just as often. Ms DeMoore remains as fabulous yet formidable from page 1 to page 203 and thanks to the clever way it’s written, in a series of interviews, it’s a book you can pick up and put down – which thankfully made it possible to read on my travels and between meetings.
A heart warming tale of love, gay rights, friendship, cabaret, couture and travel – told in a novel yet elegant way.
You can purchase a copy of ‘Travels With My Nephew’ over at the FriendsOfDorothy website.