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

12 out of 13 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 1 people found this review helpful.

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 ...
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.

posted by Anonymous on October 29, 2003

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    Excellent Read

    Ms. Fuller's style of writing is matter of fact and oh so amusing, and she has plenty of stories to share with her readers.

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  • Posted December 3, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Learning to live in Africa

    Alexandra tells the story of her family's life and her own in war-torn Africa in which they were on the wrong side of the war and they try their best to survive. Learning to overcome racism, to be hopeful in the bleakest of times and the lack of limits of a family despite the problems that crop up.

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  • Posted November 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    An average memoir

    This memoir has flashes of some very good writing. Fuller hints at some solid figurative language and a capable sense of imagery. Like many memoirs, though, this one begins the drag of repetition. Life is a bit mundane even when lived in several African countries. The obvious sense of racism and European superiority that Fuller is raised with does make for interesting conversation. The harshness of the land and the political instability are intriguing - but the lifestyle is not.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2008

    A reviewer

    I read this book 1.5 years ago and I still refer back to it and discuss it with friends. Real people in a tumulous time who experience moments of horrific tradegy and happiness and demonstrate moments of amazing courage, loyalty, depravity, and depression. Great read for a bookclub also.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2006

    A Great Memoir from Africa

    I found this book to be enjoyable in it's mix of humour and tragedy. Bobo gives us a unique perspective of Africa that doesn't pretend to explain Africa to the rest of the world, but to tell a story that is merely a small piece of a larger puzzle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2006

    Not interested in this perspective

    Big deal - she brags about her survival of the horrors created by the age old twisted borne supremacy card her parents played. May God bless the Black Africans who survived and won their freedom........

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2006

    Stunning Childhood in a Strange Land

    This memoir is remarkable and so very descriptive that you feel as if you are in Africa. The author writes beautiful prose that sometimes reads like poetry. We really feel every emotion that she felt as a child and we know her thoughts. This is so great and you do feel that you are reading a beautiful work of fiction. I hope Alexandra continues to write.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2006

    Best book ever!

    This book was on my reading list for one of my classes. It is not book I would have normally chosen on my own, but I'm glad I read it. I highly recommend it to everyone! Fuller is so descriptive, I feel as though I'm with her in Africa. She was able to successfully mix humour and drama thoughout the book. I can't wait for her next book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2005

    history, but not too much

    I usually don't read non-fiction but my husband and father in law liked it so I tried it and enjoyed it also. It did take a while to get into it. I liked the background story of Africa and all the descriptions of the places they lived. Being told by a child was very interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2005

    not the average book i would pick up

    this book was really hard to get into and the ending was dissapointing. nothing surprised me much. i would say its ok.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2005

    Highly recommended memoir

    This story was so moving and at times so funny that it was easy to forget it was not fiction. The author's mother was a particularly strong personality that got her family through the rough times while maintaining her dignity. I will reread this and enjoy it again I'm sure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2005

    A Terrible Beauty

    What a story! Ms. Fuller is so talented a writer that I could smell the sour, wood smoked, parched stench of the story¿s lonely, isolated cattle ranch, see the sad bougainvillea trees left by fleeing ¿ex-pats like us¿ and feel her love of that strange, cruel continent (¿terrible beauty¿ indeed). Her story, told from a child¿s perspective, is so painfully honest and so thought provoking that I needed to read it slowly, going back over some of the richly crafted prose, letting the smells, sounds and touch of Africa surround me. The author¿s parents might be pilloried as racists by some readers, but despite suffering terrible personal catastrophes, they remained people of great passion and gave their all to carving out a life in a brutal place. After independence, their beloved farm was taken from them, and they were surrounded by evidence that it would be mismanaged into oblivion. ¿Bobo¿ (the author¿s childhood name) feels strongly that she is an African, and leaves no doubt of her love for her homeland. I look forward to reading more works by this wonderful author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2005

    Outstanding tales of Africa, of familiy, of growing up

    I chose this book because of the very different life I imagined one would have growing up on a remote farm in Rhodesia. At the same time, the country's fight for independence adds a suspenseful edge to it all. It is truly a memorable tale of family, Africa, war, and just plain growing up, told with great humor. At times, I found myself laughing out loud! I'd love to meet Alexandra Fuller.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2005

    A View of Africa....

    Gorgeous, from the first page I felt that I was there-- I felt the heat, the thirst, the dysfunction and the love.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2005

    Wouldn't read it again

    I liked the book, but it wasn't that amazing to me. I read the whole thing, but I wouldn't read it again and I wouldn't really recommend it. What attracted me to the book in the first place was to read about someone who has had a very different life than my own. She did, but I don't know if it was more exciting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2005

    Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight Book Review

    This novel shows Alexandra Fuller's power to realistically and in a child-like way unveil her childhood. She was brought up impoverished in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Africa. The family has moved there because of the beginning of war in the early 1970's. Alexandra's family lived in fear of the war and due to that they slept, feeling protected, with gun under their pillows. The families tragedies occur when three out of the five children die at young ages. All of her troubles as a child lead to her confusions in adolescence. Living during that time we see the struggles that white Africans and black Africans encountered. Fuller shows her life, struggle, and compassion for her country like no other. I would definitely recommend this book because it shows the essential root and authenticity of life. There is violence, there is corruption, there is racism, but there also is consideration and breakthrough. True evidence of growth emotionally and spiritually. I believe this book will appeal to anyone willing to pick it up. Anyone who is eager to go deep inside the heart of a child and woman in extremely difficult times her life will undoubtedly be able to experience that with this novel. There are not many books that can open someone¿s eyes, but if truth is what a reader seeks, then this is the book to lay it out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2004

    Couldn't put it down

    This book is remarkable in its unapologetic depiction of growing up in a dysfunctional family in the chaos of civil war in an alien land. What resounds through the vivid description of the sights and smells and sounds of southern Africa is the strength of character it took to cope with such overwhelming crises and the love that kept this family together through it all. This is above all a human story and there is something in it for all of us.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2004

    nostalgia

    'a reviewer' got it wrong - this is not a story about everybody who grew up in 'zim' but about bobo - of course it's tragic that she lost 3 siblings -(no child should go through that) and I think the general public is intelligent enough to understand that - as for me I certainly knew families like the fullers -many families lost loved ones during the war - it was such a desparate time in history - but at the same time we were very privilaged to experience it - that is why we long for africa - us 'displaced people' - we can never go back to those, special, dangerous, crazy times - I certainly wouldn't like to bring my kids up in such a situation (now or then), but many didn't have a choice. - I'm proud of being zimbabwean and I think ( bias of course) we are unique people - also I have to add that I find my friends and siblings 10 yrs older than me (same as author) to be far more bitter - let go - it was fate for africa - now move on - enjoy your memories - god if I experienced what her mother did losing those kids I'd also be reaching for the gin!!! -can't wait to get hold of a copy of her 2nd book - alexander keep writing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2004

    An enjoyable read.....

    ......I found this book to be so engrossing that I could feel the african heat upon my neck...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2003

    Thought Provoking

    This is one of the most interesting books I've read in years. It really takes us out of our cushy, politically correct U.S. paradigms to a rough, rascist, other continent. The Fullers were as convinced as we are in the validity of their beliefs. This was their world view, their reality. Above all, this book has made me think how important it is for all of us to work very hard to understand the world views of others.

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