Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller

This is the memoir of a woman who grew up in Rhodesia from 1972-1990. During this time there were many political changes and civil unrest. The first interesting thing in the book is “Bobo” (Alexandra) and her family are white and live in predominately black area of Africa. By the age of 5 she could clean and shoot guns and they lived in fear of being killed.

It was interesting to me how unapologetically she wrote about their feelings regarding the Africans.  But then the end of her story she did write “I am forced to acknowledge that almost half my life in Africa was realized in a bubble of Anglocentricity, as if black Africans had no culture worth noting and as if they did not exist except as servants and (more dangerously) as terrorist.”

The author did an excellent job of remembering her past and many conversations in detail.  She was able to accurately describe the harshness of the land, the hunger, the poverty, and the drunkenness. 

The book was sad, (I’m not giving anything away here, if you read book dedications) three of her siblings did not live.  Both of her parents were alcoholics and her mom seemed to have a mental illness. But they were “well bred” from England or Scotland (?) and therefore manners were stressed. They listened to classical music and read Shakespeare at an early age.

Another interesting thing in the book was a conversation between her and her nanny. Bobo was being mean to the nanny and threatened to fire her.  The nanny said: ” When you can reach your hand over your head like this” and she reached a hand up, over the top of her head and covered the opposite ear “then it means that you are grown. Then you can boss other children and fire me.” Well, I had my son try to do that and his hand barley covered his head.  I plan to keep trying this over the years to see how old kids are when they can finally touch thier ear. 

The book was also funny. It was funny because of her skill as an author not because there was anything much funny about her life. Her life was at times very boring, there were no other people around, they were totally isolated, with only their animals and their cook and nanny. Bobo’s description of the fleas made me itch!

Another interesting point, Alexandra ended up marrying a river guide from America. She met him when he was doing rafting tours of the Zambezi river. They now live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  He must have been (be) doing river rafting tours there, which is really close to where I live. 

This is a book that I liked, it was worth reading.

I, obviously, thought it was “interesting” since I over-used that word.


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