3 out of 4 stars
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The Bushman's Son by Terry Fergusson-Hughes captures everything about humanity, humans in their most complex, simple, and complicated forms. It shows the reality of navigating life and how life is not and will never be a bed of roses. This is a non-fiction based on the author's life from his childhood to adulthood. It exposes us to the author's very humble beginnings, his problems as a child from not fitting in, and his preference for a female company, which made him a constant prey for bullies.
The Bushman's Son tells a story of speaking your truth, owning it, and just being your true self because, sometimes, not speaking your truth can be suffocating. This was precisely what happened to Terry. At a young age, he discovered that he was more interested in the male folk, but he was too afraid to go for it because of the people he believed he would disappoint, and at that time, it was still a crime. So like most gays back then, he kept pretending to be what he was not. He felt powerless in his situation, and it took a toll on him mentally and emotionally.
Like all great stories, this one had its ups and downs, but one thing Terry never ran short of was having fun and creating beautiful memories with the most amazing people. He had a large family, both nuclear and extended, and they all loved, supported, and nourished each other. Whatever affected one affected all, and together, they would try to find a solution, offering help where and when needed.
On the positive aspect of this book, I believe that it would be very relatable to the readers because I believe that there is a part of us that we are skeptical about letting out because we might cower in the face of judgment and ridicule. The author also beautifully captured the fragility of human life and the inevitability of death. One moment you are alive, young, and kicking it, and the next, you are frail, weak, old, and dying. We also saw how poverty could condition one's mind. This was subtly expressed through his mother, Myrna. The theme of friendship, family, love, and support was prevalent throughout the whole book. These things are the essentials required to navigate this rather cruel world. I also loved the subtle traces of humour. It helped lighten the mood. The book was also written in simple diction and professionally edited.
On the negative aspects, there is nothing much to say here except that the reader may find it confusing due to the numerous people in the book, some with similar names, so sometimes you would have to retrace your steps to distinguish who from who and this may be a bit frustrating for the reader.
I recommend this book for open-minded and non-homophobic people because, in a way, it helps us to see things from the perspective of homosexuals and understand that they are humans too, and some of them never asked for all these. They were just born that way. I also feel that a reader will have a thing or two to learn from this book, one is about being yourself, speaking your truth, and protecting your mental health, and the other is learning to take the necessary risks and doing what you have to do while you can so far as it is right. I give this book 3 out of 4 stars.
The Bushmans Son
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