It's South Africa, 1990. The country still squirms under the iron fist of Apartheid. Two major events are about to happen: the release of Nelson Mandela, and more importantly, it's Spud Milton's first year at an elite boys-only private boarding school. Cursed with parents from well beyond the lunatic fringe, a senile granny, and a dormitory full of strange characters, Spud has to forge a new life for himself in this foreign and sometimes hostile environment. Surrounded by names such as Gecko, Rambo, Rain Man and Mad Dog, Spud takes his first tentative steps along the path towards manhood. (The path, it seems, could be a rather long road.) Armed with only his wits and his diary, Spud takes us from illegal night swimming to the cricket field, from ghostbusting to teacher baiting. He also invites us into the mind of a boy struggling to come to terms with a strange new world; a boy whose eyes are being opened to love, friendship and complete insanity.