Littlewood, Clayton. “Goodbye to Soho”, DWB Press. 2012.
There are some books that make you say “WOW” and then there are those that cause you to “WOW” on every page. Clayton Littlewood has that ability. I was wowed by his first book, “Dirty White Boy: Tales of Soho” and I remember when I read it I thought to myself that he is going to have to do something really special to top it. He did just that in “Goodbye to Soho”.
There are few places as wild as Soho with its population of drag queens, hustlers, gangsters, hookers, etc., etc. and Littlewood hits us with it hard. He also hits us with a wonderful sardonic humor. The characters are truly bizarre and Soho is characterized by a sleaziness that is all her own and that seems to match the characters.
Littlewood began his foray into the Soho tales by blogging about what he saw from his Dirty White Boys clothing store. It later became a newspaper column that earned him a cult following and prompted him to publish a book. Now some four years after the publication f the first we get a second volume and the Soho that he gives us becomes one of the characters in the book.
Reminiscent of Charles Dickens to a degree with many strange and eccentric characters, we are given a tour of Soho in living color.
One of the things that the gay community prides itself on is its diversity, something we see a lot of here. I understand that the characters are based upon real people which gives the book a non-fiction feel yet some of the things that happen must be fiction (or not?). It is written as a series of vignettes that are tied together by locale and that gives us an idea of what it is to live in Soho. There were times I felt like a peeping time (alright, a peeping Amos) as I read because I saw what others do not get a chance to see.
I am now a fan of Littlewood (the writer) and am anxiously waiting to see what else is coming for and by him. I just hope we do not have to wait under four years for something by him.