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Publisher's Summary

Alexandra Fuller tells the idiosyncratic story of her life growing up white in rural Rhodesia as it was becoming Zimbabwe. The daughter of hardworking, yet strikingly unconventional English-bred immigrants, Alexandra arrives in Africa at the tender age of two. She moves through life with a hardy resilience, even as a bloody war approaches. Narrator Lisette Lecat reads this remarkable memoir of a family clinging to a harsh landscape and the dying tenets of colonialism.
©2001 Alexandra Fuller (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

  • Book Sense Book of the Year Award Winner, Adult Non-Fiction, 2003

"A classic is born in this tender, intensely moving and even delightful journey through a white African girl's childhood." (Publishers Weekly) "This was no ordinary childhood, and it makes a riveting story thanks to an extraordinary telling." (School Library Journal) "In this powerful debut, Fuller fully succeeds in memorializing the beauty of each desert puddle and each African summer night sky while also recognizing that beauty can lie hidden in the faces of those who have crossed her path. Highly recommended." (Library Journal) "An honest, moving portrait of one family struggling to survive tumultuous times." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Mark
  • WoodbridgeUnited Kingdom
  • 01-16-04

Moving echos from history

This is a wonderful book. Touching and tragic covering a pivotal point in Rhodesia?s history. It tracks the life of a white family trying to cling on in Africa. They defended themselves from armed insurgents (terrorists or freedom fighters depending on your viewpoint) in a typically British way.

What gives it its power is that it is viewed through the eyes of a young girl with one foot in the colonial past and one in the future, whatever that was to become. Her powerlessness to control events but being forced to watch sums up much of the fate of Southern Africa and it?s people. There are also plenty of poignant moments where her life reaches out across the racial divide showing that everyone involved in those turbulent times were just human beings trying to survive.

Having been born in Rhodesia I am emotionally involved but nevertheless would recommend this title for its honest portrayal of a small part of this now forgotten conflict.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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An African Childhood of Harrowing Proportions

This story of English ex-patriots living in a variety of countries in southern Africa with their children is amazing, bizarre, gruesome, violent and filled with disease. Most surprising to me was the fact that even one of them survived. At times, the details of the food and living conditions are so nauseating and disastrous that the title of the book--Go To The Dogs--seemed redundant. By this, I mean that it would be difficult for life to deteriorate further than the story presents. One war torn, drought ridden, broken down and hungry farm after another.

Through all this runs the strong and endearing voice of the author as the child "Bo-bo". Fuller's writing pulls all the loose ends, pain and disaster together and weaves a story of growing up in Africa. This story embodies her deep and visceral love for the place, the smells, the people and the creatures that inhabit that world. At one point in the writing she refers to her life as a child as a "terrifying unhinged blur". Believe me--she captured it in this book.

The narration was fantastic. It continually drove me forward--never allowing me to even consider giving up. This was my first book narrated by Lecat--but it won't be my last. Excellent reading--that added immensely to the whole experience.

Listening prompted me to do research about this time period in Africa's history. I read about each of the countries where the family lived--trying to make some sense of the choices and the reasons behind the decisions they made. It was not until the last hour or two of listening that I understood that all this didn't matter. It wasn't a book of African history--but rather a book of a family's history.

32 of 36 people found this review helpful

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  • Jon
  • Lake Forrest Park, WA, USA
  • 02-15-04

A Rare Glimpse.....WELL DONE!

I agree with previous reviews....this is a brilliant,rare gem of a book. Having lived some years in Southern brought back the feel Rhodesia/Zimbabwe....truly a rare glimpse into a world unknown to most of us.
The reader IS EXCEPTIONAL! This is one of those books that is BETTER in AUDIO...due to the narration. She has the accent's down pat!
Get it....your world view and heart will be the fuller for it!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Cynthia
  • Laguna Beach, CA, United States
  • 01-15-04


I couldn't put this book down, and now finding it on tape is a delight. The narration is engaging and entertaining. The author writes in an almost muscical style, it's like listening to narrative poetry in parts. The richness of the language and detail is truly luscious. I am usually struck by how "thin" many modern novels read, like eating the most basic and bland meal, with no spice or flavor. This novel is like a feast, rich and robust, filled with a symphony of tastes, smells, sights, and sounds.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Superb, writer and narrator

This is a gorgeous, sad, hilarious, very moving memoir. Fuller's parents are amazing people, and their situation is Africa is beyond imagining. Then add in Lisette Lecat and you will not be able to stop listening. This narrator is extraordinary. I generally avoid all but the authors reading their own books, but in this case I have to say I can scarely imagine even the author improving up Lecat. She must be South African, right? I mean, she has the voices & accents just pitch perfect. This is a great read. Oh, sure, it culminates in the narrator's wedding, which reminds you of just how young this writer still is. But give it to her. She's a remarkable writer--her restraint as impressive as her descriptive powers.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Judy
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 10-18-11

Wonderful memoir of a childhood in Africa

Thanks to Lisette Lecat's spirited narration, this is a book that may well be better listened to than read in hard copy. Fuller remembers the richest of childhoods, led during a time of struggle and war in Rhodesia - now Zimbabwe, and later in Malawi and Zambia. Her mother could be dismissed as a bitter, depressed racist, and a drunk. But no! this woman was Alexandra Fuller's mum. And she has an intense of love of family. The book is timely touching and funny: truly out of Africa. Beautifully written and told with wit and wisdom. Spend some time with this one.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Shannon
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 03-27-06

Difficult, but worthwhile

To begin with, this was a fascinating book. The author (who must now be in her 30s) grew up in several countries in Africa.

Her (white) parents, who were unashamedly racist, moved the family from one country to another when the white ruling classes were overthrown.

The author ("Bobo") describes the ordinariness of training children to apply tourniquets, bandage war wounds and insert and monitor IV fluids, all skills that were needed in the wars against various freedom fighters. In addition, Bobo talks about life with her severely alcoholic, bipolar, animal-loving and native-despising mother, her perenially unsuccessful father and her beautiful older sister.

The first part of the book, which concerns her young childhood, was very sad, but the second half, which describes the great beauty of Africa, and Bobo's experiences in non-segregated society, is fascinating and filled with her obvious love for the continent.

It wasn't an easy listen, but it was a truly illuminating one.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan
  • San Dimas, CA, United States
  • 12-12-11

Loved the Narration

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is a good book for anyone with an interest in African modern history.

Have you listened to any of Lisette Lecat’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Lisette Lecat has done marvelous readings for Alexander McCall's 'The Lady's First Detective' series. Her performance in 'Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight' certainly is a plus.

Any additional comments?

The story line rather rambled at times, and at other times was gripping. I did learn more about what it was like to live in Rhodesia, as the country became Zimbabwe.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A fabulous book, destined to be a classic

This is a wonderful, "coming-of-age" story, a nonfiction story, that is destined to become a classic. Perhaps not a major classic (e.g., Jane Austin or James Joyce or F Scott Fitzgerald) but certainly a minor classic (JD Salinger, etc.). The story is episodic, sounds very true, characters painted well above the usual caricature level in the usual lower quality works. The verbal narration is really good too ... so good in fact that the book may come across better in audio form than as a book (sound effects, exclamations, singing & so forth are part of the text). I know that on Amazon & elsewhere this book has sometimes been criticized for "missing the black experience" in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe in the same period. Something that had to be equally, or more harrowing frankly. But the author can't be faulted for writing about her own experience, can she?

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarah
  • Fort Collins, CO, USA
  • 02-21-04


A wonderfully funny and heart breaking story of growing up in Africa. The author did not glamorize but shared her life without apologizes. The woman who read the book did a wonderful job of capturing the characters personalities.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Kunde
  • 02-14-18

Post-colonial memories of a British girl

The story is extremely interesting and the narrator is absolutely brilliant including the noises she makes imitating the animals that the author encounters. It is someone's memory so it does come with a little judgment but it makes the story even more authentic.

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  • F112
  • 01-07-18

Decent book, but cut short

really good story including some of Zambia and Zimbabwe's history. it seems it cut off the last minute of narration however.

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  • janine Kennedy
  • 09-11-16

Beautifully written

The story is so well written that you can see, smell and touch the scenery. However the storey itself wasn't captivating and ended quite sharply in my opinion. Worth listening to none the less

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  • Laulan
  • 02-26-15

Fantastic tale of a life spent in Africa

Exceeded expectations and perfect narration almost felt like I was there with the family

Highly recommended for anyone else who found Africa a spiritual place to visit