A Personal Statement
by Ansley Vaughan, contemporary (2006)
Freya's Bower, $5.25, ISBN 1-934069-43-4


"To say that the Right Honourable Gentleman has just been guilty of a terminological inexactitude would be like saying the sun is a long way away." The man was flushed, furious. "It is both so obvious as hardly to require pointing out, and also scarcely enough to convey the magnitude of his inaccuracy." He banged his hand onto the leather surface in front of him for emphasis. "The statistics on which he is basing his assumptions are wrong. Iíve already proved them to be wrong. Why does he persist in using them?"

For a moment I begin to think that I am reading a historical romance, because do present-day guys in the British Parliament really speak like that? Maybe it's just me, the way that fellow speaks just screams "I've read too much Oscar Wilde!" to me.

There are three principal players in A Personal Statement. Jack Wickham is an openly gay MP who is constantly going on and on about gay rights and challenging the other MPs on that matter. Pascal Dumont is his main opponent. Pascal is primed to be the next Prime Minister. All he needs is to marry his fiancée Marcia to complete his image as a family man. Getting involved with that intern from America, Todd Panopoulos, is probably not a good idea.

A Personal Statement is... interesting, let's just say. I can't say I know what Ms Vaughan is trying to do here though. On one hand, Pascal is not the nicest guy around since he's a closeted hypocrite, but if this story is trying to make some kind of statement about being true to yourself, I'm not sure if the author has quite succeeded. Jack Wickham is an unfortunate shrill gay man stereotype - he's overemotional, he makes things personal and takes things personally, and he is also that unfortunate stereotype of the gay guy who falls in love with the straight-acting fellow. The resolution comes out of the blue because there seems to be no basis for the attraction between the two men involved.

This is, as I've said, an interesting story, but ultimately I'm confused by the mixed messages it is sending out to me.

Rating: 77


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