Rebecca's Reviews > Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller
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bookshelves: book-thing-free, memoirs, addiction, mental-health, postcolonial

A classic memoir that conjures up all the sights, sounds, smells and feelings of an Africa on the cusp of a colonial to postcolonial transition. Fuller’s family were struggling tobacco and cattle farmers in Rhodesia (what later became Zimbabwe), Malawi and Zambia. She had absorbed the notion that white people were there to benevolently shepherd the natives, but came to question it when she met Africans for herself. While giving a sense of the continent’s political shifts, she mostly focuses on her own family: the four-person circus that was Bobo (that’s her), Van (her older sister Vanessa), Dad, and Mum (an occasionally hospitalized manic-depressive alcoholic (view spoiler)) – not to mention an ever-changing menagerie of horses, dogs and other pets. This really takes you away to another place and time, as the best memoirs do, and the plentiful black-and-white photos are a great addition. (My free copy came from the Book Thing of Baltimore.)

A few favorite lines:

“My soul has no home. I am neither African nor English nor am I of the sea.”

“We eat impala at each meal. Fried, baked, broiled, mined. Impala and rice. Impala and potatoes. Impala and sadza.”

On her brief conversion: “Once (when drunk) at a neighbor’s house I take the conversation-chilling opportunity to profess to the collected company that I love Jesus. Mum decalres that I will get over it. Dad offers me another beer and tells me to cheer up. Vanessa hisses, ‘Shut up.’ And I tell them all that I will pray for them. Which gets a laugh.”

“Since October, Mum has been using a hypodermic needle to inject the Christmas cake (bought months ago in the U.K.) with brandy.”
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Reading Progress

August 6, 2017 – Started Reading
August 6, 2017 – Shelved
August 6, 2017 – Shelved as: book-thing-free
August 6, 2017 – Shelved as: memoirs
August 9, 2017 – Finished Reading
August 10, 2017 – Shelved as: addiction
August 10, 2017 – Shelved as: mental-health
August 10, 2017 – Shelved as: postcolonial

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