- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (March 11 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375758992
- ISBN-13: 978-0375758997
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 181 g
- Average Customer Review: 97 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #85,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood Paperback – Mar 11 2003
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“This is not a book you read just once, but a tale of terrible beauty to get lost in over and over.”—Newsweek
“By turns mischievous and openhearted, earthy and soaring . . . hair-raising, horrific, and thrilling.”—The New Yorker
“The Africa of this beautiful book is not easy to forget. Despite, or maybe even because of, the snakes, the leopards, the malaria and the sheer craziness of its human inhabitants, often violent but pulsing with life, it seems like a fine place to grow up, at least if you are as strong, passionate, sharp and gifted as Alexandra Fuller.”—Chicago Tribune
“Owning a great story doesn’t guarantee being able to tell it well. That’s the individual mystery of talent, a gift with which Alexandra Fuller is richly blessed, and with which she illuminates her extraordinary memoir. . . . There’s flavor, aroma, humor, patience . . . and pinpoint observational acuity.”—Entertainment Weekly
“This is a joyously telling memoir that evokes Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club as much as it does Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa.”—New York Daily News
“Riveting . . . [full of] humor and compassion.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“The incredible story of an incredible childhood.”—The Providence Journal
“Fuller’s look back at her early life in an English family at the violent tail end of colonialism is sad and hilarious.”—USA Today
From the Hardcover edition.
From the Inside Flap
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.See all Product description
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Alexandra Fuller recounts her experiences growing up in various African countries, part of the white colonialist presence in Rhodesia and other countries. Her family endures more than its share of hardships, and Ms. Fuller conveys them honestly, touchingly and in great detail. She does not shy away from some of the less flattering aspects of her parents' participation in a colonialist culture, nor does she pretend that they were free from any sort of prejudice toward the Africans with whom they lived. Yet Ms. Fuller does explain much of it - why her parents chose Africa and Rhodesia, Malawi and so forth, why she viewed the natives as she did, what she and her sister feared, and so on and so forth.
While this frankness is refreshing, what makes this book so excellent is Ms. Fuller's writing, which is simply brilliant. She describes the lush landscapes, the danger of mines, the violence, the poverty and so on with such intense and vivid details that the book truly comes to life. Her experiences growing up in Africa may have been in some ways similar to those of other colonialists, yet she makes her story unique through her insights, her sympathy and empathy, and through the changes that she describes - those of the countries in which she lives, herself, her mother, father, sister and others. That Ms. Fuller's possess an incredible gift for writing is obvious, as is her command of language, with every word and phrase clearly chosen with great care.
I could not recommend this book more highly. I really believe that it is one of the best that I have ever read and certainly one of the best in the past several years. Already I have begun lending it out, and those who have read it have shared my fascination. Simply put, it is not to mbe missed!
Ms. Fuller's world was full of hot sweaty days, hard work, mosquitoes and ticks and snakes. There's only occasional electricity, drinking water is foul, and any kind of plumbing is a luxury. But there's always beer and alcohol, and lots of cigarettes, all of which is taken for granted as a way of life by her and her sister, the two surviving siblings out of five. I couldn't help thinking about my own children and their easy life here in New York, as I looked at the photographs throughout the book as the two young girls grew up and the parents grew wrinkled and gray. I love the writer's descriptions and the way she uses words. The children sing songs about fighting through "thickandthin" and the family camps with other "expats-like-us". Young Alexandra, nicknamed "Bobo" learns to clean, load and shoot a gun. Her father chain smokes cigarettes as he drives their Land Rover over inhospitable roads. Her mother loves animals and keeps packs of dogs around in a losing battle to control their fleas. The children attend boarding schools that change in racial composition as the politics change. And yet there's never a single word of self pity in spite of failing crops and ramshackle living conditions.
I loved this book and read it fast, enjoying Ms. Fuller's voice. The Africa she describes became real to me as I let myself plunge into her world for a little while. There was an excellent map which helped me locate the places she describes as well as the family snapshots. Most of all though, there was a sense throughout of what it really felt like to be that little girl who grew up to share her memories with her readers. I thank her for doing that and give this book one of my highest recommendations. Read it. It's a real treat!
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