- Hardcover:256 pages
- Publisher:Penguin Press HC, The (August 23, 2011)
- ISBN-10: 1594202990
- Source: Publisher
In the sequel to Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, which Fuller’s family refers to as “the Awful Book”, the author once again returns to Africa to detail and describe the childhood of her mother in Africa, her father’s in England, and her own childhood, set in the war-torn Africa.
Her mother, or Nicola Fuller of Central Africa, as she preferred to to introduce herself as, and her father, Tim, experienced a great deal of tragedy attempting to have a farm of their own in Africa. It was their life’s dream to do so, Alexandra never really understanding this until she gets a detailed portrayal of their lives. Despite being forced to live through several wars, they still loved Africa and would sacrifice tremendously to keep the land they cherished.
Nicola suffered with bouts of depression and a literal mental breakdown. Having read what she was forced to ordeal helps explain that better; had I been in a similar situation I doubt I could have done it. From a young age, she was always a feisty little girl, always reluctant to succumb to a life others thought best for her, a life as a secretary or similar. This book seems to almost be an apology to her mother for her previous book in which her mother wasn’t cast in the most positive of lights. The reader gets a glimpse of her past, hereby validating the woman she is now.
If she had known then the score and epth of the tragedy that was to come, Mum might have borne the insults of her childhood with more fortitude, but the pathos and the gift of life is that we cannot know which will be our defining heartbreak or our most victorious joy.
Nicola was an incredibly brave and strong individual, never bowing down to fear:
In her view, the immediate peril of a situation is always weighed against the glamorous obituary that might be written for you if the thing killed you.
Fuller lessens the severity and tragedy, in a sense, by sprinkling bits of humor and retellings of humorous family stories. Family pets were treated more lovingly than the children. A name would pop up, and it wouldn’t be until paragraphs later that the name did not refer to a person, but a regaled pet instead.
Not only a retelling of a family’s history, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness provides a completely candid and rare history of Africa itself. The civil war raging on around them was brutal, as was the racism that part of Africa itself, existing for so long that it had become engrained into the culture of the society. It’s rare to be able to experience the tragedies that took place in Africa at this time, I’m truly thankful to author for providing readers with a glimpse of this integral part of African history.
Since it is a sequel, it really is best to read the previous book as the author assumes you know (and can recall) the detals set forth in the book. Luckily, I had the opportunity to reunite myself with Alexandra and her family in Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight before starting this book.
This book, as with the previous, will forever resonate within me. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is a story of family struggle, tragedy, but ultimately perserverence, a book to which I give my highest recommendation. A must read!
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me the opportunity to review this book. Please be sure to check out the other stops along the way:
Wednesday, August 17th: Luxury Reading
Thursday, August 18th: StephTheBookworm
Monday, August 22nd: Rundpinne
Tuesday, August 23rd: Lit and Life
Wednesday, August 24th: Jenny Loves to Read
Thursday, August 25th: Silver’s Reviews
Friday, August 26th: A Fanatic’s Book Blog
Monday, August 29th: An English Major’s Junk Food
Tuesday, August 30th: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, August 31st: BookNAround
Thursday, September 1st: red headed book child
For more information on the author, be sure to check out her website.
Tags: Memoir, Penguin, Review