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Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight (2001)

by Alexandra Fuller

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,627822,275 (3.93)205
  1. 10
    The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner (Imprinted)
  2. 11
    Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa by Peter Godwin (Ape)
  3. 00
    The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe by Douglas Rogers (jilld17)
  4. 00
    The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood by Helene Cooper (littlemousling)
    littlemousling: Fuller's experience as a middle-class white child in (then) Rhodesia and several other African countries is an interesting contrast to Cooper's experience as an upper-class black child in Liberia.
  5. 00
    My Traitor's Heart by Rian Malan (BGP)
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» See also 205 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
A compellingly honest memoir, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in the genre. Alexandra Fuller manages to bring that innocence that characterizes childhood brilliantly, and you can easily connect as a reader to the emotions felt by her and others in the memoir.
Although Fuller's story can be very sad, there are tender moments that brighten up the difficult situation that she had to endure. ( )
  DoctorFate | Aug 16, 2015 |
In her memoir of growing up in Africa, Fuller paints a vivid and unflinching portrait of her unconventional childhood. Alexandra, who goes by Bobo, lived with her parents and sister in Rhodesia in the midst of Civil War in the 1970s. The daily dangers they face become the norm as they grow up.

The style of the book reminded me quite a bit of The Liar’s Club and The Glass Castle. All three are similar tales of a somewhat neglected upbringing. This one is more extreme because it’s in Africa. The threat of terrorists and war increases the danger, but the struggle of a child growing up with alcoholic and selfish parents is a universal one.

Loss is a major theme throughout the book. Bobo and her family lose multiple children and at times their grief overwhelms them. Some of the surreal experiences Fuller describes almost seem normal when she writes about them. Certain aspects remind you that they are not anywhere near the western world, like the sanitary conditions, which were appalling. The kids constantly had worms or fleas and were often left to fend for themselves.

The circumstances of their life felt so foreign. There was no structure. Their existence depended on the whims of their irresponsible parents. Bobo’s older sister Vanessa was a somewhat stable force in her life. She seemed to understand more about what was happening, but she protected her sister as much as she could.

BOTTOM LINE: I love reading memoirs that give me a glimpse into a completely foreign life and this one did just that. I don’t envy Fuller’s childhood, but it was fascinating to read about.

“The land itself, of course, was careless of its name. It still is. You can call it what you like, fight all the wars you want in its name. Change its name altogether if you like. The land is still unblinking under the African sky. It will absorb white man's blood and the blood of African men, it will absorb blood from slaughtered cattle and the blood from a woman's birthing with equal thirst. It doesn't care.” ( )
  bookworm12 | Jun 9, 2015 |
this got better for me as it went along. it's always interesting to hear a first person account from another time and place, but i'm predisposed to dislike tales of africa told from white people. that might be why it took me a little while to start to enjoy this, but from the beginning i was impressed with her honesty about the racism in her family that she grew up with and was taught. i'd read another by her, and i especially appreciate that at the end in her afterword she told how she came to write this memoir and gave further reading suggestions for african stories, written by black africans. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Jan 19, 2015 |
Definitely a story worth telling--covers both the familiar "my crazy family" and "my life in ---" memoir staples with energy. Interesting to get the perspective of a white African family in post-colonial Africa, told bluntly and seemingly without much retrospective whitewashing. ( )
  AThurman | Dec 7, 2014 |
"Because we're all Rhodesians and we'll fight through thickanthin...",, November 19, 2014

This review is from: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood (Kindle Edition)
Wonderful memoir of the author's childhood in Africa, where her parents had settled as farmers. The larger part of the book concerns their time in Rhodesia - war-torn and on the brink of independence, with neighbouring Mozambique also presenting a threat: "Vanessa and I, like all the kids over the age of five in our valley, have to learn how to load an FN rifle magazine...and ultimately shoot-to-kill."
The happy side of life - the animals, the freedom - are tempered by the harshness, as death, mental illness and alcohol add to the difficulties of climate and political instability.
The author vividly conjures up her childhood, assisted by b/w photos throughout. Wonderful read. ( )
  starbox | Nov 19, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight: An Africa Childhood by Alexandra Fuller who was born in England but was raised in Rhodesia by an “absented mind” mother, an “always on the go and work to do” father and with an “I mind my own business and you all can go to hell” older sister.
The book is about her childhood in Africa. There are witty passages and sad ones and a lot about Africa
added by grelobe | editlibrary thing, grelobe
 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alexandra Fullerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heer, Inge deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Don't let's go to the dogs tonight, For mother will be there. - A.P. Herbert
Dedication
To Mum, Dad and Vanessa and to the memory of Adrian, Olivia and Richard: with love.
First words
Mum says, "Don't come creeping into our rooms at night".
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375758992, Paperback)

In Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller remembers her African childhood with candor and sensitivity. Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often inhospitable place, it is suffused with Fuller’s endearing ability to find laughter, even when there is little to celebrate. Fuller’s debut is unsentimental and unflinching but always captivating. In wry and sometimes hilarious prose, she stares down disaster and looks back with rage and love at the life of an extraordinary family in an extraordinary time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:18 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

An autobiographical account of Alexandra Fuller's childhood in Zimbabwe.

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