There are books and movies that I love, but can't bear to experience again, and this was without a doubt one of them.
Alexandra's childhood is so foreign to my own that I was spellbound by it. I went from horrified to angry to amused to heartbroken and back to horrified several times throughout. The book weighed on me like a sad movie for long afterward.
If you don't like books that are emotionally draining, this one isn't for you. But if you need an eye opener to dysfunction and danger, this definitely is.
Entertaining and honest. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The author's abilities never lead you to think that she is trying to impress you with her use of language. I related to her family experiences and the perspectives where told from a child's perspective. A good read.
This biography reminded me of "Running with Scissors " with is blunt descriptions of a harsh upbringing and highly difunctional parents. Ms. Fuller is able to retell the events of her life with insight and humor. A very good read.
This is a beautifully written memoir of a an English family's life in Africa. It is told by "Bobo", Alexandra Fuller, in a compelling and descriptive style that will have you hooked in the first chapter. This tale is sad; three of the five Fuller children do not survive infancy, but it is also humorous in parts. A wonderful read.
a very enjoyable read. having spent time in africa, i appreciated her honesty - admitting that she grew up in a family that believed in white superiority. i just wished i could have gotten a bit more insight into her parents - why they chose to live in zimbabwe during the midst of a war of independence.
This is a fabulous book. In addition to giving the reader a fully-realuized memoir, the author also provides a history lesson about the experiences of middle class white farmers in Africa during the 1960s-1980s. Do not miss this book!
I was mesmerized by this story, mainly because I lived in South Africa many years ago and can imagine the situations described in this book. Africa sings to one, despite the horrific happenings described by the author (which no doubt happened during independence of the various countries). However, it brings current situations into focus for those of us interested in this incredible continent and the progress made.
I found this book fascinating, in part because it is so well written, and in part because Alexandra Fuller's childhood was so unlike my own. Raised in a dysfunctional family during a time of profound transition in the life of Africa, she provided glimpses of life that I had neither encountered nor imagined. As her parents made decisions for the life of their family, I kept think, "Oh, no!" -- but somehow they kept putting one foot in front of the other. It wasn't an easy book for me to read, but it was also hard to put it down.
I read this book to learn about life in Zimbabwe for an upcoming trip. The autobiography was a funny and well written portrait of a dysfunctional family. I enjoyed learning the author's experiences as a white British family living in Africa during times of political upheaval. Although the book only offers the author's limited perspective of African life, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys quirky autobiographies. The epilogue features descriptions of several other books for further readings about Africa which I am eagerly awaiting via swap.
Alexandra Fuller's rich and unique writing style had me rereading sections just to savor her descriptions. From one honest circumstance to the next, you will find yourself immersed in a world that is at once thrilling, scary, and sad, wondering at the fortitude of the family who insisted on living in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia during some incredibly tumultuous times.
I enjoyed reading this book because it gave me a look into a totally different world than mine. I am not a fan of the authors plain writing style...but I would suggest reading the book...it is both sad and real...Linda
It was really interesting to me to read about a white child growing up in Africa. Her childhood was anything but normal. There is a lot of tragedy in this book. The author's parents are true characters. This is a good read. Not the best memoir I've ever read but still enjoyable.
This book is heartbreaking, uplifting and uproariously funny. It's the story of a unique childhood, miraculously survived and beautifully described.
Alexandra Fuller, the "Bobo" of the story looks back on her childhood with equal parts fond humor and honesty in a voice that is almost detached.
You just fall in love with the whole family, her very "Pukka" parents-Mum, a second-generation Kenyan, and Dad, a fisherman and farmer at heart, the babies, Adrian, Olivia and "Robert" and her older sister Van (Vanessa), who despite being relentlessy read Shakespeare in-utero, steadfastly declines to read or write, which is a shame, because her version of the same childhood from her point of view would be priceless.
This is a childhood that begins idyllically in Rhodesia and treks through Africa as the family seeks to escape turmoil and revolutions as Central Africa painfully throws off its Colonial yoke. Each time they start hopefully anew and set down roots and farm with their beloved collection of horses and dogs.
Throughout the droughts, the wars, the tight finances and heartbreaking tragedies the Fullers never give up and never lose their love for each other and Africa.
Fuller tells her story in small sparkling vignettes. Her descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells of Africa are intoxicatingly evocative. The stories of her childhood are woven together with love, nostalgia, humor and a touch of regret.
Van claims to have never read it, and Mum refers to it Dramatically as "That Awful Book!", but I loved it.
This is a very good read. The follow up would be "Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfullness", which is also very engaging. Alexandra Fuller tells a sweet but painful childhood growing up in Africa and I could hardly put it down.
This came highly recommended, and I wish I could say I really liked it. I didn't. I couldn't get past about 75 pages. The story is quite interesting, but the jumping time frame is disorienting, and the florid prose really turned me off: way, way too many adjectives for my taste. If you are fascinated by recent African history, and can overlook my objections, you may enjoy this book.
Could there possibly have been a childhood more dissimilar from my own? That made this book fascinating and wonderful! Raised in Africa with her sister, her daredevil farm manager father, and her strong, hard-drinking, bi-polar mother, Bobo Fuller lived more adventures in 20 years than most people will in a lifetime.
Though the family was unusual, I wouldn't call it dysfunctional since they truly cared for each other and made the most of their life together. I highly recommend this memoir if for no other reason than to discover a foreign country through the eyes of those who lived there as ex-pats.
I found the subject matter interesting but very depressing and bleak. I dont know much about Africa, so it was interesting to learn, but so sad and poor. The dysfunction of her family also made me so sad.
This is an incredibly picturesque book. Her writing takes you to dusty hot beautifully wild, Africa.I will read this again, as it is as close I will get to Africa, In this life!Look forward to her other writings.
The writing is interesting with vivid descriptions of life in Africa as seen by a child growing up there. But the subject matter is distressing and depressing -- about a family dysfunctional to the point of almost being criminal. I'm pretty sure I'd not have finished reading this book if it weren't required reading for this month's selection of our book club.
From cover: In this novel, Alexandra Fuller remembers her childhood in Africa with candor and sensitivity. Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often unhospitable place, it is suffused with Fullers abiltiy to find humor, even when there was no reason to celebrate. An awesome read
If you enjoyed the Liar's Club by Mary Karr or the Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, you'll probably enjoy this equally tragic, yet beautifully written memoir. I had already hoped Ms. Fuller would write another book and share her talent ... perhaps someday she will.
This is a story of growing up in Africa with a mother who is deep in the bottle. According to a friend who is from South Africa, it is right on the money. Humorous, poignant. You won't want to put it down.
A candid look at her African childhood. "In wry adn sometimes hilarious prose, she stares down disater and looks back with rage and love at the life of an extraordinary family in an extraordinary time."