Fuller, Alexandra "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" - 2002
Another book club read that I really didn't care for. A British family spends their life in Africa, Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, in the middle of a civil war. They are not just poor but destitute, lose children there, they just go from one misery to another, an alcoholic mother, having to sleep with a gun, teaching their children not to come to their bed at night because they might be shot accidentally, and in addition to all the violence around lots of dangerous animals everywhere. I didn't understand why they didn't go back home. They might have been poor in England, too, but they would have been safe. I would have understood it better if they would have liked their life in Africa but they didn't, they hated everything about it.
Somewhere I read a review: "'Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight' is a courageous memoir about complicated times and an equally complicated family. You may not want to know them, may even despise them at times, but you never doubt that they're real." I agree with that. If anybody wrote this as fiction, people would say "too much imagination".
We discussed this in our book club in May 2003.
From the back cover:
"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."