That having been said, it is, at its core, a story of a man trying to determine both his place in the world and his purpose for being. Whether he has achieved that by travelling half-way around the world to set himself up in the flesh-pots of sin-city itself; Pattaya, Thailand, only time will tell. At times I felt Finch was desperately trying to justify the hedonistic lifestyle that so many westerners (farange) embrace and love when they go to Pattaya, either briefly or as in Finch's case, for the rest of his natural.
I also feel, in his writings, his bristling at the scorn that many Europeans heap on these elderly men who travel to Asia, seeking comfort and compliance in the arms of girls (or ladyboys in some cases) young enough to be their grand-daughters. It has certainly seemed to have worked for Finch and his Thai partner of nine years, so more power to him. He did, however, regale us of many occasions where the foolish European and his money were soon parted by the clever and pernicious Thai women.
A large section of the book was dedicated to his ongoing dispute with the British Health Service and the care given to his father in the latter years of his life. Finch is clearly still wound up about this as well as his own treatment by the authorities in Britain.
I guess I identified with the Author, as in many ways his situation parallels my own - a middle-aged Westerner who walked out on his life and came to Asia to find happiness. Whether Finch has found it, only time will tell - or perhaps another book or two will tell us.
The book was also interspersed with what clearly is one of Finch's greatest passions; birdwatching (twitching). In some ways I found these passages about the beauty of the landscape and the birds to be an interesting juxtaposition with the tales of boobs, bums and pussys in the a-go-go bars of Walking Street Pattaya.
I have no doubt there are still plenty of anecdotes waiting to be told and hopefully these will be in future tomes. If there was one thing about the writer's style that I didn't like it would be his tendency to pretension and self-absorption (it was however a memoir, so I guess some self-absorption is permissible).
It was definitely different to some of the memoirs I have read and after some thought I decided it was worthy of four stars. It was an absorbing, at times fun and occasionally annoying read, but one I'm glad I made. If you like an author who writes conversationally and doesn't mind poking the borax at himself (and others) from time to time, plus you want to know what Pattaya is "really" like, you could do a lot worse than reading Collected Selected Words: UK/Thailand/Italy by Jonathan Finch. Give it a try.