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Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood
Book Sense Best Nonfiction Book of 2002
A New York Times Notable Book of 2002
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"This is not a book you read just once, but a tale of terrible beauty to get lost in over and over." Newsweek
"A classic is born in this tender, intensely moving and even delightful journey through a white African girl's childhood....Fuller's book has the promise of being widely read and remaining of interest for years to come." Publishers Weekly
"This was no ordinary childhood, and it makes a riveting story thanks to an extraordinary telling." School Library Journal
"Vivid, insightful and sly... Bottom line: Out of Africa, brilliantly." People
"By turns mischievous and openhearted, earthy and soaring...hair-raising, horrific, and thrilling." The New Yorker
"Fuller is a gifted writer, capable of bringing a sense of immediacy to her writing and crafting descriptions so vibrant the reader cannot only picture the stifling hot African afternoon but almost feel it as well." Booklist
"[A] gripping memoir...made up, in equal parts, of stark, matter-of-fact reminiscences about her childhood and fierce, Dinesenesque paeans to the land of Africa." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"As casually unadorned as rawhide, and just about as tough....The extremely personal and unguarded understatement of this memoir is far more powerful than any sociopolitical analysis or apologist interpretation could hope to be." The Boston Globe
About the Author
Alexandra Fuller was born in England in 1969. In 1972 she moved with her family to a farm in Rhodesia. After that country's civil war in 1981, the Fullers moved first to Malawi, then to Zambia. Fuller received a B.A. from Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada. In 1994, she moved to Wyoming, where she still lives. She has two children.
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