Sweet, fat, theatrical Billy-Boy was never cut out to be a farmer, but as his father’s only son he’s obliged to try. The cows are wayward and the chores are gruelling, but Billy finds escape in a fantasy world. A place where the turnip paddock becomes a lunar landscape, a lavender bed jacket a slinky space suit, a cow’s tail a head of beautiful blonde hair, and where Billy can become Judy Robinson, heroine of TV’s Lost in Space.
But in an isolated conservative farming community in 1970s New Zealand, not everyone approves of Billy’s transformation. On the brink of adolescence, Billy is beginning to discover that growing up is far more complicated and confusing than he could ever have imagined. While the mysteries of sex confound him, emotions are unleashed which urge Billy to betray those closest to him.
50 Ways of Saying Fabulous is a poignant and endearingly comic novel. Anyone who grew up in a small town, grew up feeling that they didn’t fit in, or simply grew up will find this book funny, touching and unforgettably evocative of childhood lost.
Praise for 50 Ways of Saying Fabulous:
'I loved this funny sad tale of growing up a sissy in New Zealand. Graeme Aitken proves that even the most extraordinary events can occur to wonderfully ordinary people. If I knew fifty ways of saying fabulous, I’d use them all to praise this charming first novel.’ EDMUND WHITE
'Thoroughly engaging.' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
'A funny but also achingly sad first novel'. OBSERVER
'A sort of gay Adrian Mole ... There are laughs aplenty but also moments of agony ... Told with bare faced honesty, it is a warm, cruel, funny tale.' THE SUNDAY AGE
'Touching and sad, 50 Ways of Saying Fabulous also has some very funny moments.' THE TIMES
'An entertainment, a gentle, poignant story of a fat boy who fantasises romance and glamour without yet having a name for what he is ... Aitken writes with a distinctive voice, one that is wonderfully evocative.' DENNIS ALTMAN, THE AGE
'... an important work ... What Aitken has demonstrated fabulously is his skill in the art of telling a good story ... his honesty and fearlessness in confronting those squirmy adolescent secrets is to be admired.' CANBERRA TIMES