Thursday, August 21, 2008

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller

In Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller remembers her
African childhood with candor and sensitivity. 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. Fuller’s debut
is unsentimental and unflinching but always captivating. In wry and sometimes
hilarious prose, she stares down disaster and looks back with rage and love at
the life of an extraordinary family in an extraordinary time.

I chose this book for the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge, Eh! based on my own criteria. Alexandra Fuller went to my university in Canada, and it was because she was at my graduation ceremony that I even heard about her and decided to pick up a copy of her books. I read Scribbling the Cat last year and quite enjoyed it. This book actually comes first, but I think I received the other one in the mail first. (I just noticed she had another book come out earlier this year, I will have to check it out!) So, I finally got around to reading it this year and I am very happy I did. Fuller is one of the most entertaining authors I have read, so I always enjoy her writing. In this book she is writing of her childhood in Africa and she does not sugar-coat it. It is eye-opening, harsh, but at the same time it is entertaining and you cannot help laughing at some of the stories that she tells.

Not having even been to Africa before, it is very hard for me to imagine what it was like to be raised there. Anything I know about the place comes from other peoples' accounts and their lives are a lot different than they are for us over here. Fuller was basically raised in poverty, but she had a lot of experiences in the meantime. She is very global. She is British, but she was raised in Africa, went to university in Canada, and now lives in the U.S. Her parents are still in Africa, though, which is where she got the idea to write her other book. This book goes back to the very beginning and illustrates what life was like for Fuller growing up. We get a very clear image of not just her, though, but also the people in her family and the other people that she was raised around. There are very serious stories outlined in this book, but, at the same time there are stories will have you laughing. Fuller is very good at weighing things out in such a way that you do not get overwhelmed by any one subject.

I really like Fuller's writing style. This book was better than Scribbling the Cat. I quite enjoyed reading it and was a perfect arm-chair travel.


  1. I really liked this book too. I read it before my blogging days but I still think about it from time to time.

  2. A bit off topic, but since you were complaining a little while ago about not getting tagged much anymore, I've tagged you for the page 123 meme if you feel like it.
    I've been lurking even if I haven't commented in a while. :)

  3. I really liked this one too!! I thought it was fantastic, and I'm really not much of a non-fiction reader. I'm so glad you enjoyed it as well!

  4. Teddy: I am not so sure about her new book. It might be interesting for someone living in the U.S., but it doesn't really sound all that great for me. It's too bad, though, because she is a good writer. Have you read her other book?

    tanabata: I will be sure to do it, then. :)

    stephanie: I remember you reading this, was it like last year? I am glad you enjoyed it too!

  5. No, I have not read her other book.

  6. I like the sound of this one. Like you, I find it hard to imagine what growing up in Africa must be like. But then, the great thing about books is that they make the unimaginable easy to reach.

  7. Anonymous1:28 PM

    I have had this book on my shelf for ages, and have yet to read it. I've even had it as a possible pick for a couple different challenges. I did notice when I was doing a search for books tagged as Canadian Fiction on either Amazon or LibraryThing (can't remember which) that this book came up and I wasn't sure why. Now I know - thanks!

    Oh yes, and I like the new look!

  8. Teddy: You should, it was really interesting.

    Nymeth: Yes, perfect armchair traveling book. :)

    lesley: It is well-worth the read, but I know how it is, there are plenty of books I have every intention of reading and never seem to get around to!


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