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

by Alexandra Fuller

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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  1. 10
    Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa by Peter Godwin (Ape)
  2. 10
    The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner (Imprinted)
  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 175 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
Read during Summer 2002

The Fullers are ex-pats living in the former Rhodesian countries of Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi, though they have livied in Africa for generations. Although this mostly the memoir of Alexandra Fuller's childhood, it is also the change from white to black rule in these countries. The fascinating personal story of the Fullers is wrapped up with the civil wars and cultural changes. Fascinating.
  amyem58 | Jul 14, 2014 |
Alexandra Fuller, also know as Bobo, is the youngest surviving child of a British expatriate couple who work as farmers in the African countries of Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia. The author paints a very colorful picture of these three countries as she describes the years of her African childhood. She remembers the good times and the bad. Her parents lose three children, her parents are heavy drinkers, and her mom suffers from manic depression. Growing up in a time when blacks and whites don't mix socially due to class difference seems strange now, but Bobo's story reflects a different time and place. Being tormented by her older sister Vanessa doesn't bother Bobo all that much as she is always able to find pleasure in the simple things of African life. Even later, as a married adult living in the USA, she relishes any opportunity for a return visit to her former African home.

Although a mildly painful book, the overall spirit of it is one of joy. It's terrifically descriptive of the rustic setting which Bobo called home as a youngster. Jump into this read and take the time to learn a bit more about Africa than you already know. ( )
  SqueakyChu | Jun 22, 2014 |
I did not find this book as interesting as I hoped. The disorganization of events did not sit well with me. All I know for sure is they were poor Anglo-Saxons living in Africa, [somewhat] racist and lived through many wars. ( )
  lizamichelle1 | Mar 25, 2014 |
This book was an interesting read. Alexandra Fuller writes of her life growing up in Africa, from the perspective of her childhood memories and impressions. The writing was vivid, honest and at times, both heartbreaking and harrowing. The choices made by her parents, and the life they chose to carve out for themselves in some of the harshest places in Africa was a rough one, and not always easy to read. Over and over, I felt grateful and relieved to have grown up where I did, in the life that I did, safe and secure, above all else. Boring perhaps but then, I guess I am just not an adventurous spirit. Her style of hyphenating several words to create a new word or phrase is creative, I suppose, but began to wear on me and annoy after awhile, but apart from that, the writing was fine.

What intrigued me more, though, if I am to be honest, was googling her after finishing the book and watching her speak on several youtube interviews. She comes across as a very articulate, intelligent and *together* type of person, and that made me feel good; to know that in spite of her rather un-typical upbringing, she has forged a life for herself that is productive, successful and positive. I would seek out others of her books. ( )
1 vote jessibud2 | Jan 19, 2014 |
Alexandra Fuller's memoir of growing up in Africa was first of all, compulsively readable. I had a hard time putting it down. As is often the case in memoirs, her parents are kind of crazy, and it's easy to be as amused by their antics as you are appalled. Bobo, as Fuller is known in the book, is raised on a series of small, barely profitable tobacco farms in Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe), Malawi, and Zambia.

She's a bit of a wild child, as is probably to be expected from the combination of permissive parents, remote locations, and a backdrop of civil war and societal unrest. Her family goes into town in a convoy including soldiers and their own mine-proofed SUV. She drinks, smokes, and learns to shoot an Uzi at an early age. The casual racism of the time and situation are presented without commentary or explanation, which can be interpreted as brave. I think there is often a tendency to want to rush in after the fact and explain it away, to reassure the reader than you know much better now. But at the same time, I was left curious regarding how Fuller feels about all of that now.

There's no doubt that Fuller and her family have deep roots and a sincere love for the physical land of Africa, but I found myself contemplating what it really means to love a country when you're simultaneously oppressing and displacing its people. (Yes, I'm aware of clear parallels to the original American settlers - and that brings up the idea of history being written by the victors. The Americans won their country, while the English/Dutch etc were mostly driven out of Africa; is that the difference?) Although the family in the book isn't perpetrating many of the most egregious acts of colonialism, the fact remains that their farm is on land that only white people could own, they have black servants, and they clearly think the black Africans are inferior. Is it possible to really love a place without accepting its people?

Quote: "There is only one time of absolute silence. Halfway between the dark of night and the light of morning, all animals and crickets and birds fall into a profound silence as if pressed quiet by the deep quality of the blackest time of night. This is when we are startled awake by Dad on tobacco-sale day. This silence is how I know it is not yet dawn, nor is it the middle of the night, but it is the place of no-time, when all things sleep most deeply, when their guard is dozing, and when terrorists (who know this fact) are most likely to attack." ( )
1 vote ursula | Jul 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (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.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:57 -0400)

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

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