Mud Between Your Toes: A Rhodesian Farm – Peter Wood

Peter Wood is an African. He is white, but he also holds a Chinese passport. And he is also gay.

Growing up during the 1970s on his family’s farm in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Peter was swiftly introduced to a harsh world in which friends and relatives were murdered in ambushes—and the line between blacks and whites was drawn in blood.

As travel bans and UN sanctions caused a deepening chasm between his country and the rest of the world, Peter struggled with his identity as a white Rhodesian and later in life, when living in London, he nurtured his skills as a photographer—and finally found the courage to come out as gay.

Now a twenty-year resident of Hong Kong and an official Chinese national, Peter is arguably the only white, gay, African man in China. But his wildly entertaining anecdotes delve much deeper than that superficial—yet admittedly fascinating—label. These stories, based largely on Peter’s childhood diary entries, offer insight into the universal human experience: from tragedies and triumphs to catastrophes and, perhaps most importantly, joy. – Goodreads.com

I received this book free from the publisher via netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

I am not much a fan of memoirs, but I found it near impossible to put this one down.

This memoir is perfectly illustrated with pictures relevant to the story (I mention this because I usually find with memoirs that there’s just one chunk of unrelated photos smack-bang in the middle of the book).

It reads like a novel, hard to believe at times that it’s all real life given how incredibly whimsical a tale it is. The memoir takes place in Africa, a young white boy living in a segregated community, struggling with sexuality and identity and on the verge of war. There are treks with wild animals, near misses, mussed up romances and a lot of philosophical wanderings.

You feel like you’re right there beside the author the entire way through. Not many writers can really bring you into a story like that. This novel is absolutely excellent. Well done.

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