Author Les Young tells the story of his years with the love of his life, Warren, in this charming family memoir.
Born in 1939 as the youngest of six to a widowed mother, Young was raised in a rural village in New South Wales, Australia. He realized he was gay as a teenager and took off for more welcoming climes, including London and Sydney.
His story skips along at a breakneck pace: On the very first page, he is born, grows up, comes out, and lives as a young adult in Canberra’s embryonic “gay scene.” By the third page, he meets his partner Warren, who he will spend the next 46 years with.
The book comprises primarily anecdotes on their life as a couple, often at parties— most stories seem to involve one or the other or both drunk—and at the restaurants where both make their careers on and off, first as cooks and later as owners. Once retired, the two travel the world on gay cruise ships —Young’s astonishment and joy at the concept of a whole cruise ship full of gay people will move the hardest of hearts —until Warren’s death.
As the book unfolds, offering mainly reminiscences from their lives together and the oddball characters they meet along the way, there’s very little narrative drive. It’s hard to imagine much broad commercial appeal for the book, but it serves as a tender and little-seen look at gay life in ’50s and ’60s Australia. Peppered with photos of the two and finished with anecdotes from Warren, this would be a lovely gift for any of Les’ or Warren’s family members.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.