Friday, December 07, 2012

Don't Let'sGo to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller, New York: Random House, 2001.  ebook, 256 pps.

When I was a kid, I briefly knew a girl and her mother who invited me to a museum with them.  Where there, they fawned over the sculptures and pottery that was from what was then called Rhodesia.  "The best stuff isn't here," the mother sniffed.  I didn't understand really.  Turned out both had lived there together when the girl was even younger.  Girl might have been born there, I don't actually recall.  I grew up in an openly prejudiced family.  These two had an Irish surname and freckles.  I knew next to nothing about Africa.  I was a kid as I have stated.  Too young to know that the "Social Studies" books we were given were woefully inadequate.  Neither one of them said anything else about this Rhodesia which I knew was located on the continent of Africa but nothing else.  I have no idea now of where they had lived, what they done there, or why they had left.  They didn't offer any information.  I wasn't prone to asking.  As a matter of fact, I could not even detect an accent.  To me, they sounded like everyone else in my mixed up neighborhood.  At any rate, they both disappeared shortly afterwards.  Perhaps mother and young daughter had gone back to Africa, maybe to a safer place than Rhodesia.  At any rate, I never saw them again.  Alexandra Fuller's book is about a childhood in Africa.  It is the book that I wish I'd had as a child.  Certainly more accurate than our "Social Studies" books.

The family hailed from England but when Alexandra Fuller was a toddler went back to Africa.  There was a farm, a series of farms.  Mom and dad were a bit taken up with the drink.  Especially Mom.  She got a bit maudlin at times, was prone to belting out songs at random.  There were two surviving sibs.  The author-- called BoBo in the book-- was one of them.  Her older sister Vanessa-- called Van-- was the other one.  There was a war and guns and the hazards of living in places where the wild things had been first.

sapphoq reviews says:  A very likeable memoir.  Worth a read for anyone who is an armchair traveler into other peoples' yesterdays living in faraway lands. 

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