Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

An African Childhood

Book - 2001
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When the ship veered into the Cape of Good Hope, Mum caught the spicy, heady scent of Africa on the changing wind. She smelled the people: raw onions and salt, the smell of people who are not afraid to eat meat, and who smoke fish over open fires on the beach and who pound maize into meal and who work out-of-doors. She held me up to face the earthy air, so that the fingers of warmth pushed back my black curls of hair, and her pale green eyes went clear-glassy. "Smell that," she whispered, "that's home." Vanessa was running up and down the deck, unaccountably wild for a child usually so placid. Intoxicated already. I took in a faceful of African air and fell instantly into a fever. In Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller remembers her African childhood with visceral authenticity. 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. From 1972 to 1990, Alexandra Fuller--known to friends and family as Bobo--grew up on several farms in southern and central Africa. Her father joined up on the side of the white government in the Rhodesian civil war, and was often away fighting against the powerful black guerilla factions. Her mother, in turn, flung herself at their African life and its rugged farm work with the same passion and maniacal energy she brought to everything else. Though she loved her children, she was no hand-holder and had little tolerance for neediness. She nurtured her daughters in other ways: She taught them, by example, to be resilient and self-sufficient, to have strong wills and strong opinions, and to embrace life wholeheartedly, despite and because of difficult circumstances. And she instilled in Bobo, particularly, a love of reading and of storytelling that proved to be her salvation. A worthy heir to Isak Dinesen and Beryl Markham, Alexandra Fuller writes poignantly about a girl becoming a woman and a writer against a backdrop of unrest, not just in her country but in her home. But Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight is more than a survivor's story. It is the story of one woman's unbreakable bond with a continent and the people who inhabit it, a portrait lovingly realized and deeply felt.
Publisher: New York, NY : Random House : 2001
ISBN: 9780375507502
0375507507
Branch Call Number: 968.91 F958d
Characteristics: 301p illus

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Bunny_Watson716 Jun 24, 2016

An excellent memoir of the author's time spent growing up in Zimbabwe. This is a portrait of a family you won't soon forget!


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FiremanCalla
Aug 17, 2017

I've read most of Fuller's books and since the very first one I picked up, Cocktails Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, I was completely fascinated. She is now one of my favourite authors of all time due to her courage to talk so openly about her experiences and to do it so well. Her writing is brilliant and funny although there is a trail of saddness inherent in her and her familys' lives. I found her latest book about her marriage break- up pretty hard to read due to this aspect. Her descriptions of life in Africa, at the time, are riveting and there's a lot to learn about the history of the continent from a white perspective.

One critic called her "one of the ten best writers in the English language during the 1990s".

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VSoltman
Mar 21, 2017

This was an interesting book to read, since I didn't know much about this specific historical setting, but I really don't know why so many of the reviews inside the book said it was "hilarious".

Mayflower94 Feb 15, 2017

This book makes me realize that how little I know about Africa, especially the life in colonial Africa as recent as the 70s and 80s. A fascinating read.

r
ryner
Jan 12, 2017

Alexandra Fuller, inexplicably nicknamed "Bobo," recounts her unusual childhood in Rhodesia, Malawi and Zambia, all somewhat dicey places to be white and English during the 1970s and 1980s. I had a difficult time putting the book down -- having never met anyone with such a bizarre, unconventional upbringing, I was by turns endlessly fascinated, frequently disturbed and unintentionally(?) amused. The scene with the missionaries had me laughing out loud. A worthy read if you're looking to read about life experiences completely foreign to your own.

m
mdjamali
Oct 17, 2016

I adore this writer. She lived a colorful life as a child and I enjoyed reliving it vicariously with her. I found her untraditional upbringing fascinating. Great read!

Bunny_Watson716 Jun 24, 2016

An excellent memoir of the author's time spent growing up in Zimbabwe. This is a portrait of a family you won't soon forget!

r
rationallady
Nov 22, 2015

I was an ex-pat for twenty years so I identified with many of the problems and blessings of this family even though I've never been to Africa. Ex-pats don't usually feel superior to the local population, but they always feel special.

PoMoLibrary Jul 30, 2015

From our 2015 #80DayRead Summer Reading Club traveler Gayle: Excellent book!

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 23, 2014

Growing up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), “Bobo” Fuller has given us an insightful portrait of her fun-loving, ingenious English family. The rather extraordinary circumstances of her life in this southern African country before and during Mugabe’s rule are written about with compassionate realism: her mother’s fondness for gin & tonic in “watermelon porcupines”; their rather large troupe of seven lap-hopping disobedient dogs; the cook who was constantly toting a large marijuana cigarette, sprinkling ashes on everything he concocted in the kitchen; their father’s stubborn streak of independence which led them into constant adventure; and the truly agonizing loss of three adorable siblings at very young ages. It’s a wonderful read, opening up worlds intriguing and unknown to so many of us.

c
cynthia94066
Apr 16, 2013

Would others recommend for 8th graders? At the end of 8th grade. There's violence and molestation, but it's all off page for the most part from what I recall.

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purplecow03
Jul 27, 2014

purplecow03 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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purplecow03
Jul 27, 2014

A true story, told by Alexandra "Bobo" Fuller. It is the story of a European family born and raised in southern Africa. The story honestly portrays the challenges of every day life and Bobo's journey from girlhood to womanhood in a hostile environment.

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purplecow03
Jul 27, 2014

When [Mum] kisses me good-bye, she wraps me briefly in the safe, old smell of Vicks VapoRub, tea, and perfume and it's only when I look into her eyes that I remember that she is in the middle of a nervous breakdown. She says, "Be a brave girl, okay?"
"You, too."
(Fuller 195)

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