Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
An African Childhood
by Alexandra Fuller
Childhood Memoir Zimbabwe
In a land not her own, but not really being connected to anywhere else is how little Alexandra Fuller grew up. Living in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), enduring the war and racial turmoil, Alexandra (aka Bobo) grew up almost raising her parents as she raised herself. Her mother was mentally unstable after loosing several of her children in childbirth or shortly after, and very maniacal in her pleasures and hatreds. Her father worked most of the time, and when not working he joined up with the white side of the government in the Rhodesian Civil War. They allowed (I could even go so far as to say encouraged) their daughters at a very young age to drink alcohol and smoke. The only rule was that they didn't get caught smoking at boarding school or they would be kicked out.
This is a book of what it would be like to grow up in a country where you don't fit, where you parents express racism outwardly, where you have to live in a gated home and go away to boarding school from very early on. Also a place where schools are segregated into A Schools, B Schools and so on depending on your race and skin tone. What shocked me the most was the racism of her parents, but more than that was how Bobo somehow managed to not embrace it herself. There are several key moments in the book where you realise that she is going to end up just fine, that almost in spite of her parents ideology and beliefs, she will be different than them.
I loved reading Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight (actually listened to it). Alexandra Fuller skillfully tells her story, and when she does, even the horrors of it all seem to have a tinge of hope. I don't like downer and gloomy books, and this is not one of those, but she isn't cheery for no purpose, I would say just optimistic. I loved Bobo as a young girl, and the older she got the more I felt like I knew her. She is an excellent writer, storyteller and lived an extreme life, I am so glad that she told her story, I am a better person for having met her, if only through her book.I don't even love memoirs and I loved this read! So if you are a non-fiction buff or love memoirs you would probably enjoy it all the more!
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight gets my special best books prize, the "Stellar Five Chicken Award" because chickens are so much better than stars, it really is just that good!
Author Website: Alexandra Fuller
If you enjoyed Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight you should check out The Glass Castle
How have you changed your story? Would you say when you are in the midst of tough situations you are optimistic or pessimistic?