There are numerous funny anecdotes in this book that will make you giggle, a few that will make you squirm and one or two where you'll say; "rather her than me."
As the story of a woman obsessed with the dream to write and the path she took to achieve that dream, it is an interesting story and for those of us with a limited knowledge of Africa and particularly what it was like to be white and living in apartheid South Africa in the 1980's and early 90's, it was quite a revelation.
Clarke takes us on a journey from her earliest dabbling in writing and broadcasting, as a continuity announcer at a Libyan radio station during the repressive regime of Muammar Qaddafi through to her work as a teacher in a South African private school, where she was able to indulge her need to write, though stories, radio plays and television programmes for the state owned broadcasting unit, the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation). Most of this particular book focuses on her days with the SABC and she is at pains to assure her readers that working on radio and television was far from the glamorous occupation it is often portrayed to be. There were many genuinely funny anecdotes from her work to produce "educational" programmes to try and improve the lives of the majority, poor, black population. As an expatriate Brit and as white as they come, some of the best stories came from her forays into the black townships to film, where she often faced real fear of violence or hatred.
My only complaint, and it is a minor one, was that at times I found the tone of the story to be just a little patronising and insulting to the intelligence of her readers. Some of the explanations of various broadcasting terms, were I felt anyway, so obvious as to be totally unnecessary and a little disruptive to the flow of my reading.
What comes through over and over again in this memoir is the author's innate desire and need to write, something I could readily identify with. Clarke is frank in an assessment of her own abilities, but like all writers, she tends toward self-deprecation perhaps more than is necessary. I've read a number of her books now and she is a talented writer and an excellent author of both fiction and non-fiction, alike. This is a good read and interesting and instructional as an insight into what it was like to be just another, ordinary white person working in apartheid South Africa and interacting daily with the black majority. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading her follow up book on the same subject; More Truth, Lies and Propaganda.
I am happy to give Truth, Lies, Propaganda: in Africa, four solid stars. If you like reading memoirs of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, then I'm sure you'll enjoy this book immensely, as I did.