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Reviewed by Karen Pirnot for Readers' Favorite
In The Search for Intelligent Life on Earth: A Story of Love, author Gerry Pirani offers readers a glimpse into the lives of disturbed mental health and gay and abusive relationships. John is a privileged Englishman with a dark childhood history which infiltrates and pervades his life as an adult. Mark is of German and Native American heritage and his path is a rocky road as he works to find his identity as a gay individual. Jacques has an intensely negative history with his father, a disturbed and rejecting man who sets Jacques up in the entertainment world as a female impersonator. Jacques is a beautiful young man who has no notion of his own personal identity. The lives of these three young men are intertwined in such a way that they force one another into confronting their deepest fears and their darkest secrets.
I really liked the character of Jacques. As a privileged Frenchman, he had an innocent, naïve quality that endears him to almost all readers. Mark's personality was very strong and, at times, the reader almost wishes he was a bit more pliable rather than controlling. As for John, he was a man without purpose and understanding, and some readers will see components of themselves in the man. The plot is controversial but extremely well written such that the difficult subject matter is tastefully done. Not for the faint of heart, The Search for Intelligent Life on Earth is a powerful study of societal taboos and family dynamics. Pirani's story will stay with the reader for some time after the book is closed and put away.