Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

"Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" should be a "don't miss" read for anyone looking for an autobiography in which you can totally immerse yourself.

My husband and I actually read this book together. We would get ourselves a cup of coffee and head out to our deck every morning during the summer with this delightful book in hand. We were so engaged with "Bobo" and her entire family that we couldn't wait to get star...
My husband and I actually read this book together. We would get ourselves a cup of coffee and head out to our deck every morning during the summer with this delightful book in hand. We were so engaged with "Bobo" and her entire family that we couldn't wait to get started each day. When we finished the book, we were actually saddened that we wouldn't have another day in which to share this wonderful read.
We laughed till we cried as Alexandra Fuller told her delightful stories about her mother, her father, sister, and the others who lived with and helped this fascinating family. We also cried when tragedy struck. We felt as though we knew these people and shared in their sorrows as they faced them throughout their lives. We truly loved this book and just wanted it to go on and on. Thank you, Alexandra Fuller, for giving us such a fond memory. My only regret is that there isn't a sequel. It's been a long time since I read a book that I enjoyed this much.

posted by n2nis on March 13, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Should read

Good plot to many Area names Loved the story.

posted by 2780855 on October 3, 2011

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" should be a "don't miss" read for anyone looking for an autobiography in which you can totally immerse yourself.

    My husband and I actually read this book together. We would get ourselves a cup of coffee and head out to our deck every morning during the summer with this delightful book in hand. We were so engaged with "Bobo" and her entire family that we couldn't wait to get started each day. When we finished the book, we were actually saddened that we wouldn't have another day in which to share this wonderful read.
    We laughed till we cried as Alexandra Fuller told her delightful stories about her mother, her father, sister, and the others who lived with and helped this fascinating family. We also cried when tragedy struck. We felt as though we knew these people and shared in their sorrows as they faced them throughout their lives. We truly loved this book and just wanted it to go on and on. Thank you, Alexandra Fuller, for giving us such a fond memory. My only regret is that there isn't a sequel. It's been a long time since I read a book that I enjoyed this much.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Hooked me and kept me enthralled to the very end...

    This was a really compelling memoir, brutally honest and beautifully insightful. Alexandra is a fascinating woman whom I would love to meet and talk with. I have not read her other book... but someday it will make it into my very large pile!

    My criteria for what makes a "good read" are: hooks me in the first 10 pages, opens my eyes to a new point of view, teaches me something about another culture or part of the world, makes me want to learn more. This book hit them all hands down!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2010

    Terrible Beauty

    Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller portrays a different perspective on life. Alexandra is a young girl living in Africa and she does not live an ordinary life. Alexandra lives with her family in a small city in Africa. This house consists of two rooms and zero bathrooms for a family of five. After just one month of her baby brother being born, he passes away from a horrible disease. Her mother struggles with this loss and progressively gets more depressed as life goes on. Alexandra is accustomed to hunger, drought, malaria, and fighting guerrillas that represent colonial Africa. Her family not only is a victim of racism, but they are guilty of being racist as well. Although Alexandra's family is struggling during such hard times, she has no problem finding laughter in her life. Alexandra looks past all of the terrible situations she has been put through and lives life to the fullest. She looks at her past and discovers love during her journey.
    This book sends many messages. One prominent message in this book is courage. I believe that Alexandra had been put through many tough situations and she overcame all of the troubles that her family had. Alexandra stared down disaster and made the best of what she could. One thing that I really liked about the book is the imagery. Fuller portrayed the environment and time period that they were in and I enjoyed being put into Alexander's situation. One thing that stood out to me in a negative way was how slow the book started off. It was hard to understand Fuller's language. I recommend this book to all teenagers. Teenagers typically think pessimistically about their own lives and they usually do not see that some people are living in Africa with diseases, have no food or home, or even do not have an income. Another book that relates to this is A Child Called 'It' by Dave Peltzer. A Child Called 'It' is similar in many ways because of the situations he must overcome. Dave was beaten as a child by his mother, yet still found a way to enjoy life and make the best out of his situations. Overall, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight was a well written book.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2007

    Raw, poignant portrait of a life of poverty

    An amazing story that reveals the harsh realities of life for the poor in several African countries during the 1970s. Written as a memoir and dedicated to the author's mother, this book would be appreciated by those interested in African life, manic-depression, alcoholism, poverty, farm life, race relations or people who enjoy stories with a wry, dark sense of humor. This book is not written with the sense of balance or thoroughness one might find in a textbook, but rather it is a collection of stories that describe how one family coped with the extreme poverty and the political upheaval of 1970s Africa. By turns it is sad, desperate, intimate, bittersweet, and funny as hell. It will surely evoke some strong emotions in anyone who reads it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Post Colonial Africa Settler Family

    This author also wrote Scribbling the cat. This book describes some interesting events and the underlying hardship faced by white family in southern africa. It is a personal biography/diary more than a cultural critique.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2008

    A reviewer

    This book is an easy read. Once I started to read it I could not put it down. The author is very descriptive when recalling the accounts of her life. She includes so much detail it's like watching a movie. She paints a picture in your mind with each page. It is a must read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    Bris

    Such an enjoyable read. I ate it up and will be pondering on it for sometime.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    Heartwarming book

    I really liked this book. It was sad, funny and just a wonderful story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2011

    Great book!

    Very enjoyable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2011

    Interesting. A good read.

    It took a good 80 pages to truly get interested in the story and used to the author's style. But after that, I enjoyed the book. Very interesting and informative. I knew NOTHING about Africa....this was very eye-opening! I enjoyed it enough to go on and read her recent "sequel." IT moved a little faster...but I suppose that's because I knew the characters and her style.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    A Horrible Beauty of a Childhood

    I never really thought about how lucky I am and appreciate the things that I have. Since I was small I would always want this and that and never thought about the people around me, who are having a harder life style. Now that I read the book Don't Lets Go To The Dogs Tonight, a beautiful and heartbreaking story about Alexandra Fuller's African childhood, it made me think about life more seriously and how what seems like a bad day for me is worst in a life that is full of disasters during a war, Alexandra lived through.
    This book was a very difficult book to read. Although, the actions and events were very captivating and interesting, some parts of the book are left extremely confusing. The beginning of the book is awfully hard to understand. It starts off with the present or later childhood of Alexandra, then during the next few chapters, the real opening of her African childhood starts. It is hard to comprehend what is going on in the beginning because they do not introduce the characters; this left me wondering what was happening in the book.
    The memoir does have many devastating tragedies, but never leaves you bored. When Alexandra has missionaries come to her home and teach her how to pray she wishes for a younger sibling, and sure enough she gets one. She tells herself. " She is the direct result of my prayer. I am secretly, ecstatically proud (84)", this left an imprint in my mind because I can relate to this. I remember as I child I would wish for a younger sister over and over again. It wasn't until two years later though, that my wishes came true and my sister was born. That was the happiest day of my life.
    During Alexandra's childhood, numerous events were occurring in her family and school. This also affected her surroundings, such as the country she lived in. During her childhood there was a war going on with the British and Africans. The dedicated feelings Alexandra's mom had, is a shock to me and I realize how this strongly this affects her family. She says, " We were prepared to die, you see, to keep one country white- run. (24)". Because I am born in a time where we have our own independence I do not know how this feels, but I have learned about the discrimination and segregation of the races. That is one of the ugliest things I have ever learned. It is nasty how races where ranked, teased, and killed for nothing, just because they were that certain race. Alexandra went through many different experiences from good to bad. This memoir has not only taught me about her life, but also about her country and the obstacles in life many will encounter. This is a fabulous memoir my Alexandra Fuller.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Started in South Africa, finished in US

    I started reading this in South Africa (second trip with more to follow) while visiting family (expats). From Pretoria we self drive so we get to see parts of Africa others never experience, plus we get to "visit" with the people of Africa...African, Afrikaner, and British. Our son and his family have a diverse group of friends and acquaintances; and it is fascinating to just sit and listen to each person's perspective and observe their interaction.

    Fascinating book with crazy, funny, heartbreaking vignettes throughout. Yes, Africa gets into some folks' blood (my son a little I think). Despite all my past and present obsession with Africa I know, after reading this book and then right after...Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness...I am not one of them. Much as I love to visit Africa, the romanticism has worn off. It is a continent that needs the crazy adventurism of Nicola and Tim Fuller.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    an intriguing and satisfying read!

    the author's frankness and dry humor are totally captivating. she lets bare facts speak for themselves without moralizing or attempting to go beyond the scope of one little white girl's African experience.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2011

    Should read

    Good plot to many Area names Loved the story.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    Entertaining and educational

    Being raised in the city in the U.S. would not prepare you for life like growing up in Africa during the Rhodesian war. From the cigarette smoking and beer drinking to being taught to tend wounds and deliver babies in school as an eight-year old, Bobo's upbringing was anything but traditional. I envied her and pitied her at the same time. What an exciting and scary time to be a white child in Africa. A great book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2006

    Disappointing & Hard To Follow

    There was a lot of good hype for this book, but I just didn't get it. What could have been an interesting story was hard to follow. I'm still trying to figure this book out, even after our book club discussed it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2003

    Do Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight!

    I hope that the many who have read and lauded this book don't think that all Rhodesians, 'White' or 'Black' are like those portrayed in this book. I feel like writing a rebuttal to this work in a way - and calling it 'Do let's go to the dogs tonight!'... only no-one would want to read it. It wouldn't be a point by point debate in answer to Ms Fuller's recollections, (that would not interest me). My story of the halcyon days of my childhood in Africa would be no less 'brutal' but hopefully more balanced, in proper context and truthful. Africa is a magnificent continent and the countries in which I have lived are peopled with characters that go beyond a mawkish mixture of personal tragedy and a personal history that I think is used,unsuccessfully, to excuse bad behaviour, racialism and add grist to a mill that is inaccurate, disjointed and exaggerated. Further, being an ex-Rhodesian around 10 years older than the writer, I see no good in the naive political commentary that has no context really other than to make the reader think they understand Africa, Rhodesia, African politics and rule or life on the dark continent, or to 'faga moto' to an already cockeyed view of Africans, Black, Coloured or White. But then perhaps that was what the wiriter wanted. Or maybe she just wrote a story and was suprised at the response of the non-African reading public? Who can really know? I happened to have been born in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), lived and schooled in Southern Rhodesia and Rhodesia, (now Zimbabwe) and now live in South Africa. Thank heavens my parents worked hard (they too went without food to protect and care for us three children), they were not drunks, and I did not have a childhood filled with ticks, worms and fleas. Please understand, this did not represent Rhodesia for everyone - there was love, respect, understanding and care between all people (both Black and White) when I was growing up ... but then I suppose I was the lucky one. Yes there was a war, yes, in a war horror abounds, yes there are two (?) sides to every question, yes there is enmity between peoples, but to take Ms Fuller's account as a standard interpretation of these times and to fete it as I have read above, well that saddens. I wonder how many of those critics have actually been to Africa in general and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe in particular. Read 'A story of an African Farm'... now there's a story about Africa that's more honest by far.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2014

    Safe and Privileged My school had Alexandra Fuller come and tal

    Safe and Privileged

    My school had Alexandra Fuller come and talk to us. I was slightly confused about why she was there, but as she ta;led to one of my classes about the hardships of living in Africa during civil wars. When I found out she had her own book talking about her childhood, it sparked my attention, but I never got around to reading it. Now, I was able to read it and I didn't want to put the book down.
    Being in Africa during the ending of a ten year civil war and the starting of "a new civil war between the Renamo rebel forces and the new Frelimo government" (52), I would think that living in Africa as a child would be terrifying, especially living as close to Mozambique as she did. To most people watching out for land mines and snakes in a yard is not their main priority of caution, but for Fuller and her family, they needed to use land rovers to even get in to the town. Although, Fuller did not have to live through this by herself because she had the comfort of her older sister and servants. The Africans who helped out, such as Violet, the housekeeper or Snake, the cook, definitely added entertainment to the story.
    Before reading the book, I knew that there was a lot of conflict in Africa,but after reading the book, I realized how much of an impact these wars had on people's everyday lives. From learning how to use a gun as a little girl or burglaries from people she knew well, Fuller lived through something I could never go through. This book also made me realize that I take my safety for granted, and I will never need to worry about terrorist raiding my house or having to carry a gun with me at night. The detail of the book makes you feel like you're watching a movie. While I was reading the book, I could feel the the excitement, despair or fear from her point of view. Overall, this book is a chance to see how a child grows through and adapts to the African lifestyle, and I would definitely recommend it!   

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  • Posted September 5, 2014

    I loved this book, loved Bobo, Van, Olivia, Adrian, and Richard.

    I loved this book, loved Bobo, Van, Olivia, Adrian, and Richard.  Ms Fuller's writing is exquisite, so descriptive , the book is full of poetry and horro.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2014

    "Don't Lets Go To The Dogs Tonight"    Although, It wa

    "Don't Lets Go To The Dogs Tonight" 
      Although, It was hard to get into and the beginning was all over the place and it was difficult to understand Fuller’s language, the story eventually made sense.  After Fuller introduced her family, the novel became more interesting and fast paced. I found it amazing that Fuller had such a positive mind through such  hardships. She experienced many deaths that almost put me to tears.  The way she told her stories made me feel as if I was there with her and feeling the same sorrow as her and her family.I really felt it after he sisters death when Fuller said "I understand, through the power of her emotions, her tears, the way she is dissolving like soap left too long in the bath, that this has been the greatest tragedy of our lives." (Fuller, 32). It is astonishing how she would speak so highly of her mother even though her mother was usually drunk. Fuller became independent at a very young age and it is shocking how well she handled some dreadful situations. Every time I picked up the novel I would get lost in it almost instantaneously. This is a book that I would read again. 

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