If this isn’t the year for a summer vacation, why not have a stay-cation with these books and delight in some armchair travel to places you may never have a chance to visit otherwise.
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller
Mom says, "Don't come creeping into our room at night."
They sleep with loaded guns beside them on the bedside rugs.
She says, "Don't startle us when we're sleeping."
"We might shoot you."
So begins Alexandra Fuller’s memoir Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, a memoir of her childhood in growing up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) during civil war. Born in England, Fuller immigrated to Rhodesia with her parents when she was a toddler. It’s hard to imagine why her parents thought moving to Rhodesia during a civil war was a good idea, but both had ties to the continent. Her father moved to Kenya as a young man and her mother lived in Kenya during the twilight of its empire days. Fuller never gives the impression they were imperialists but settlers. Fuller’s dad was often absent-fighting for “white rights” in Africa. At home, her mom managed her depression mostly with alcohol- “We're all mad, but only I have the certificate to prove it.”
Life was hard. The family moved from one poor performing tobacco farm to another. Fuller focuses on stories of family life while moving around Rhodesia with the Rhodesian Civil War framing the background. For example, Fuller’s first school picture is include and in it she is holding an Uzi. But for every mention of the war, there’s also a tale of life in Africa. From planting during the spring to reclaiming a farmhouse from the encroaching jungle to even the sounds, Fuller paints such a detailed picture of the landscape that you can almost feel you’re there.
For more about Fuller’s family and life in Africa read: Scribling the Cat and Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness.
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