East of Croydon

By Megan Thomas

Sue Perkins blunders her way through South East Asia and India – or at least that’s how she would describe it. I’d say she’s not as bad at it as she’s inclined to self-deprecatingly claim, give or take a vom on the way up the Himalayas, a gulp of the Makong after a Cambodian dragon boat race gone over-competitive, and a tumble into human faeces in Varanasi.

Sue had barely made it east of Croydon when she was offered a job presenting a set of BBC documentary films exploring the socio-ecological degradation of our planet as a result of global warming. So of course she agreed to go! Her travels are sprinkled with personal interludes, which give a powerful insight into her life, making this book a lovely hybrid of travelogue and biography. Anything that was censored out of the BBC’s version was unleashed in full force in the book, “let’s try that again, Sue, but more BBC1 this time please” translating loosely into “for fuck sake, stop saying fuck and could you try doing it without crying the whole time?” 

Sue is honest and brutal, whilst compassionate and observational. She’s also bloody hilarious. I think my only criticism – and it’s not a deal-breaker – is that it’s probably a little longer than it needed to be, given that it’s a lot of the same thing with different scenery. That said, she describes the different scenery beautifully and with great attention to detail.

Sue and I are basically best friends now, see evidence below. She is one of the only authors I’ve ever attended an event and signing for who sat and took a picture with absolutely everyone. It took her ages. And then she apologised to us that we had to wait so long. Wholesome.

Read about the event of hers I attended here.

FUN FACT for Parks & Rec fans: Sue’s mom is called Ann Perkins.

BUY THE BOOK: Waterstones | Book Depository | Amazon
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