Posted 20 hours ago

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

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Then there is a life-changing tragedy, for which Bobo feels responsible: "My life is sliced in half". I read "Cocktail hour under the tree of Forgetfulness" first, and found this book too repetitive - although it was written first. Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often inhospitable place, it is suffused with Fuller's endearing ability to find laughter, even when there is little to celebrate.

My grandparents spent time in Zambia when my mother and aunt were small, and my uncle was born there, so I suppose, in some ways, it hit home; the segregation, the animals, the low-humming threat of violence, the drinking, the dusty heat. The sections on Malawi and Zambia are more prosaic, but this is a lyrical and accomplished memoir about Africa, which is "about adjusting to a new world view" and the author’s "passionate love for a continent that has come to define, shape, scar and heal me and my family. I look back on my life and realize that there were many times that I could have been killed by something I had done when I was young and wandering the countryside by myself.Her father drives her to her wedding in full rig, dress, veil, bouquet, and they talk about the fields along the road. The memoirs of the childhood of a white girl (Alexandra, known as Bobo), raised on African farms in the 1970s and 1980s, along with her sister, Van(essa). I also really wanted to delve deep into the Fullers reasons for wanting to live on a continent that they found so inhospitable--both in terms of terrain and in terms of constant violence they encountered. I would have never have dreamed of reading a book about Africa; the country just never appealed to me. Bobo and her sister are warned not to come into their parents' bedroom in the night because they sleep with loaded guns.

For instance, the four stages of Mum's drunken behaviour in front of visitors is treated humourously.I was captivated by the stories: The stories were fascinating, dangerous, unimaginable, maddening, crazy, and hilarious. Her choice to use a child's POV is incredibly clever since it allows her to touch on issues like racism, post-colonialism, and dysfunctional family dynamics without needing to present apologies, excuses, or really any editorializing and that let's her experience shine through. Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often inhospitable place, it is suffused with Fuller’s endearing ability to find laughter, even when there is little to celebrate. She describes the different songs of the birds, the many kinds of African smoke (cigarette smoke, wood smoke, the smoke of mosquito coils), even the various kinds of heat.

Afterwards couldn't stop reading everything else this author has written (and wasn't disappointed, especially by the book that's completely focused on her mother, cocktails under a fever tree or something like it). She is also very aware of her family's thick lips, contrasting with their pale skin and blonde hair.At times funny, at times tragic, at times eccentric, at times heroic, Fuller gives us a wonderful story told through the eyes of a gradually maturing child. This is the story of her childhood as a farming family in what originally was a country ran by whites under British rule through the revolution where Rhodesia became Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe’s control. She gives an account of meeting the first black student to transfer from his former boarding school, talking to him, finding out that he is polite and doesn’t have the stereotyped “African manners” and that his family is much better off financially than any of the white students’.

Fuller’s memoir quickly draws the reader into her girlhood growing up in Africa with candor and humor. Suffice to say, the scenes she depicts, in their richness and in their built, held and finally released tensions, read as well as the most achingly perfect short stories. The author's description of her mother is very touching - the drinking, the swings in temperament - but there is never any criticism. I am currently living in the Netherlands, so reading about the beauty of Africa truly made me feel homesick.This memoir details her life from that time right up to the late 90's, a time period when Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) was at war fighting for independence from Britain. On her brief conversion: “Once (when drunk) at a neighbor’s house I take the conversation-chilling opportunity to profess to the collected company that I love Jesus.

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