Mrsgaskell's Reviews > Twenty Chickens for a Saddle

Twenty Chickens for a Saddle by Robyn Scott
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's review
Nov 18, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 9-star, library, nonfiction
Read in August, 2009

This is a memoir of the author's unconventional upbringing in Botswana during the late eighties, and early nineties. Her father Keith was a flying doctor, and her mother Linda a scientist who gave up her career to raise her family. Under the experimental, optimistic, and very relaxed guidance of their homeschooling mother, Robyn, and her siblings Damien and Lulu had an interesting and ultimately surprisingly successful education. They lived for a number of years in a converted cowshed in the bush near paternal grandparents Ivor and Betty. Ivor was a former bush pilot and an interesting character in his own right. Maternal grandparents Terry and Joan McCourt were much more conventional and concerned about their grandchildren’s haphazard upbringing. In later years, the family was able to purchase their own farm in the Tuli Block area bordering South Africa, where they came into contact with predominantly Afrikaner neighbours. At the age of fourteen Robyn began to attend a convent school in Zimbabwe. As she grew up, and through her father’s work in rural clinics, Robyn became increasingly aware of the ravage of AIDS. This is an enjoyable memoir, and although they definitely border on the eccentric side, this is not a story about a dysfunctional family. The delights and discoveries of childhood and the loving family life of the author and her siblings were a pleasure to read about. There were some laugh-out-loud moments on the way, as well as some interesting encounters with wildlife.

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