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113 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic reminder of living in Africa
Fuller manages to capture the essence of Africa very well as a Msungu. She has a superb way with words and gets across the climate and people so that you can easily relate. just hope it means as much to those that have never lived there.
Published 14 months ago by Richard A

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story
I liked learning about Africa but the story really didn't seem to go anywhere. Perhaps the next book will complete things.
Published 13 months ago by Hiliary Clarke


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4.0 out of 5 stars great content, Sept. 9 2013
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I really enjoyed the content coming from a small girls perspective in a very dysfunctional family but the end left me hanging.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story, June 10 2013
I liked learning about Africa but the story really didn't seem to go anywhere. Perhaps the next book will complete things.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic reminder of living in Africa, April 30 2013
By 
Richard A (Newport, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood (Paperback)
Fuller manages to capture the essence of Africa very well as a Msungu. She has a superb way with words and gets across the climate and people so that you can easily relate. just hope it means as much to those that have never lived there.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Survivor's Story, March 27 2007
By 
Teddy (Richmond, BC) - See all my reviews
Alexandra Fuller is a survivor of a very dysfunctional family. This poignant, heart wrenching, yet at times laugh out loud funny memoir is rich in the African landscape that she grew up in. Ms. Fuller wrote this in beautiful, lyrical prose, which makes the reader feel like s/he is there, experiencing all the harsh yet beautiful reality first hand.

The narrator of this audio book, Lisette Lecat could not have done a better job.

I highly recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars --Candid and Unforgetable--, March 12 2003
By 
Judith Miller (Bluemont, VA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Alexandra Fuller takes us back during the years 1972 to 1990 into the life that she led as a child in Southern and Central Africa. Her words are painful and hilarious, but always ring truthful. The story of her very determined parents and the struggle the entire family experienced is amazing. These parents are not the hand holding gentle souls who can´¿t bear to worry their children, they are blunt and strong and serve as examples of people who are surviving in a very difficult life and often-brutal country. The family lived on several farms trying to make a living on inhospitable land where guerrilla fighters were lurking in the bushes and camping on the farmland during the nights. The truth was they loved Africa, and were determined to stay there.
During all of the years of civil unrest, her father was often away serving as a soldier for the government. Her mother was a very emotional, but strong woman who tried her best to hold on even when she saw her children die and she had to continue to run the farm alone while her husband was out fighting. Everyone carried guns and the children were taught how to load a gun as soon as they were agile enough to do it.
Alexandra, called Bobo by her family gives us this remembrance that she had from the age of three. ´¿Mum says, ´¿Don´¿t come creeping into our room at night.´¿ They sleep with loaded guns beside them on the bedside rugs. She says, ´¿Don´¿t startle us when we´¿re sleeping.´¿ ´¿We might shoot you.´¿ ´¿Oh.´¿ ´¿ By mistake.´¿ ´¿Okay, I won´¿t.´¿ replied Bobo.
I didn´¿t want this story to end and hope that the author writes another book and gives us an update on her remarkable family.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars couldn't put this book down, Nov. 13 2004
This review is from: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood (Paperback)
I found that I couldn't put this book down. The author has fantastic insight into her own dysfunctional family. This is a touching survivor's story. A wonderful book, even more so because it's autobiographical. For anyone who loves reading about life in Africa and overcoming adversity in life, this is the book for you. Has a bit of "Nightmares Echo" and "Living Lolita in Tehran" in it. All excellent reads. Highly rated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I could give TEN stars!, May 19 2004
This review is from: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood (Paperback)
God, I loved this book! Smart, funny, sad... I love her writing style. She makes you feel, smell, taste and touch Africa. I wish I could write like this. I'm recommending it to everyone I know, and hope that Fuller's latest, "Scribbling the Cat," is as good. Even if it's only half as good, it'll be worthwhile!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Written, Extraordinary Memoir, April 25 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood (Paperback)
I've been fascinated by Africa, particularly since reading Kingsolver's 'The Poisonwood Bible' several years ago, so when I saw this book and its engaging cover, I grabbed it! I just LOVED Fuller's memoir and, like so many others, just hated to see it end (but unlike others, I read it slowly, with extra maps in hand, savoring every page). It's easy to pick up any part of it and get involved all over again...
I was so impressed by the quality of Fuller's writing, as I'm always looking for well-written fiction (and no, this isn't fiction, but it reads like an absorbing novel). There isn't a false note in this well-crafted debut--it's so crisply honed (not an extra word anywhere!, and she knows just when to end an episode), with wonderful dialogue and vignettes, and an equally wonderful, fresh use of the English language; Fuller often uses her own original compound words, for example, to narrate her story of growing up in three African countries, with a chaotic and ever-interesting family, with Africa itself always there, always one of the characters, too.
I thought the story succeeded so well because Fuller doesn't 'whitewash' her parents or family at all. Nor does she judge them. While I winced at yet another drink in her mother's hand sometimes, or the fact that no one ever processed anything with young Alexandra (Bobo) after her baby sister's death, it's obvious that this is a family that has a great affection for each other, though Fuller keeps this tightly understated. I was caught up in the relationships between family members, their use of nicknames (used affectionately), the complexity of Fuller's mother--what an incredible character!--and the way Bobo seemed, to me, to be the son her father never had. And yes, these are 'racist' parents who you may not always agree with, but you love them just the same, despite their lapses (or maybe because of them).
I did wonder about all the alcohol and hard-drinking, which is often amusing, but sad, too, and wondered if it was central to surviving in Africa, as not only is alcohol and alcoholism a factor in Fuller's own family, but the other 'expats' seem to all get drunk, too, and so do the black Africans. Is it a way of coping with a place, a continent that seems to be, by its very nature, excessive and unpredictable?
I also wondered, because Fuller is yes, so amazingly candid and detailed in her portraits of the family and their life, how her parents and sister let her publish such unvarnished depictions (let's hope they're all still speaking to each other! But hats off to them all, for letting Alexandra tell it the way she saw it...).
Like other reviewers, I also loved learning more about this part of the world, and you do learn about the backdrop of Rhodesia's civil war (and true, you wonder why the Fullers stay--I thought there were answers in the book, though), and about the landscape and 'personality' of Africa, which are so vividly and urgently present. I also appreciated the many layers that are there to be had in this memoir--yes, it's a story of one person coming to terms with her identity, her growing up years and her family, but it also raises questions about Africa's future and the place of whites in it, to name just one thing I thought about while reading this memoir.
I liked the extra pieces at the end of the book ('My Africa' and suggested further reading, both of which the author adds in the paperback edition), and the many pictures from the Fuller family photos drew me in even more into Fuller's story.
The one thing that bothered me somewhat in the book is that I so wished Fuller had put a few more dates in; I didn't mind that she jumped around, but just wanted to know how old she was at various times, wanted to get a more accurate sense of her chronology and the family's moves (I did reread the sections in order later, but still, a few more dates would have helped, I think).
Hopefully, this will be a writer we'll be hearing more from. She's too good to have only this one book in her! And I'm ending this review thinking I haven't done justice to the book--it really is one of the best books I've read in ages, and I hardly ever read non-fiction anymore! If nothing else, read it for the fine, tightly beautiful writing, or for the fact that it's difficult to find a memoir that's so unsentimentally, honestly and freshly drawn.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but had some issues with it..., Feb. 12 2011
This review is from: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood (Paperback)
Having just read "Twenty Chickens for a Saddle: The Story of an African Childhood" by Robyn Scott and LOVING it, I thought that I would try this book. The settings and 'growing up in Africa' themes were remarkably similar in the two; given the 4.5 stars out of 5, and some very positive acclamations from other readers, I thought I would give this book a whirl.

I recently returned to North America after living in rural East Africa for six months and a friend gave me Scott's novel as a gift. Scott's stories actually had me laughing out loud multiple times. Given my experiences, I could relate to finding humour in simple cultural differences and mannerisms - yet still accepting people for who they are. Scott's off the cuff, but incredibly endearing family also made it that much more enjoyable. Her book does have it serious moments, as it touches on the tragedy of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

While Fuller's book was comedic at times (her family is very atypical), the tone throughout was relatively melancholic given her family's many hardships. The views portrayed throughout likely reflected that of many expats living there at the time, but I was disappointed to find it rather discriminatory. I had really hoped that there would be some sort of catharsis, showing a step towards acceptance and equality (not necessarily some grandiose gesture, but at least in the mind of the reader) as the novel progressed and was disappointed when this did not happen. It is not a feel good read (nor was it supposed to be, but hopefully you understand what I mean in stating this).

Overall, Fuller's book is well written and I can see why many readers might have enjoyed it. On a personal note, though, I could not get over the bigoted views presented without some form of resolve. If you are considering purchasing this book, I would suggest you try Scott's "Twenty Chickens for a Saddle: The Story of an African Childhood" instead.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo, July 13 2004
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This review is from: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood (Paperback)
A wonderful insight into the mind of a child and a precise memoir of life itself. Life isn't straightforward and simple, yet we survive, thrive and love, even in the most difficult situations. Ms. Fuller: You said it all and you said it well.
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Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller (Paperback - March 11 2003)
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