Monday, April 1, 2013

a different type of memoir.

The only appropriate way to begin a book titled, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, is with a cocktail. I had just emptied my dresser drawer stash of Christmas booze so I had to pick up a brand new bottle of Three Olives Cherry vodka for the occasion. Darn.

Alexandra Fuller's latest memoir, which acts as a bit of an extension of her Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, retells the the story of her childhood in Africa. Cocktail doesn't focus as much on Fuller as it does her high-spirited mother, which was a nice twist from her first book. It is an educational and insightful documentation of her parents living and struggling in Kenya and Rhodesia during modern times. I enjoyed Fuller's lack of bias the most. She balanced affection for her parents while also showing the implications of their choices. There was no romanticizing the era of British control in Africa. Fuller describes the violence of late 20th-century Kenya and Zimbabwe in a way that felt fair and accurate.

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