Customer Reviews for

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

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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 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.

    3 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 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2013

    Great Memoir

    Fuller gave a stark view of how her childhood experiences stuck in her memories. Fantasitc descriptions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    A Good Read

    This is a very interesting insight into the life of a white girl growing up in black Africa in the 1970s. The story has gaps, but it is a memoir and perhaps it is all that the author remembered. Fuller's prose is wonderfully descriptive. The reader can almost hear the hyenas howl and smell the rotting vegetation.

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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.

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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.

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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.

    0 out of 1 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!

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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 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 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2003

    An excellent read

    As a 40 year old, white Zimbabwean, this story really resonanted for me. It is a brave, compelling account of an African childhood.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2003

    enjoyed it very much

    This book is fun to read. It shows Africa as someone's childhood home. Written with honesty and feeling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2002

    Everyone should read this book

    One of the best books I have read this year. They should base a movie on _Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight_! A very realistic look at a harsh life that so many believe to be romantic. And yet there is beauty in the harshness of the environments that Bobo had to endure. A strange paradox. Delicate subject matter is tastfully handled in this book. Everyone should read _Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight_!

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    Posted December 26, 2011

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    Posted October 25, 2008

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    Posted October 7, 2011

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    Posted March 9, 2009

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    Posted December 29, 2011

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