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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:28 am 
Wise One
Wise One
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Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 7:45 pm
Posts: 2500
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

ISBN 014305693X (ISBN13: 9780143056935)
Published April 17th 2008 by Penguin Canada

I read this book many years ago, and it seems to have stayed in my mind as being a good read. I distinctly remember being quite fascinated with the characters and the story itself. Why couldn't I have had a childhood like Robyn Scott's?

It's received mixed reviews over the years. You'll need to make up your own mind about it. Personally, I'm glad I read it. says:

In this brilliant, hilarious memoir, Robyn Scott recounts the years living in Botswana while her dad works as a flying doctor. At first she thinks her parents don't have the best ideas, but soon she begins to realize the importance of her father's work. Botswana has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world, but still no one wants to talk about it and, for once, Scott is proud that her parents are willing to be unconventional.

reviews at

petra-sockiex rated it 4 stars out of 5

If you enjoy reading undemanding rambling stories that never actually get anywhere but have a cast of interesting characters, you might enjoy this book. Its about a family of three children being unschooled in the bush of Botswana by an alternative-living author from New Zealand, her flying doctor husband and their various friends, enemies and family living in Botswana. They are all very unconventional and none of them gives a damn about that either. For instance, Grandpa's bedroom decoration is the wings from a plane he crashed. Preteens driving trucks without brakes are encouraged by the parents as is riding motorbikes but not guns. Not because guns and shooting are bad, but because an animal might get shot!

The title refers to a business started by the author when she was 11 - rescuing burned-out chickens and inducing them to begin laying again by paradisical (for a hen) living conditions and then selling the organic eggs at a high price to fellow ex-pats, thereby making a profit to buy the much-desired saddle of the title, and delaying the chickens ultimate and obvious end for at least a year.

A good read for a long flight or perhaps a bag book to pull out while waiting in line. Nothing much ever happens so it won't matter if you put the book down or even forget it somewhere.

Fiona also gave it 4 stars out of 5

I always find it interesting to read about lives very different from my own and this was no exception. The book was a Christmas present, along with a number of others about Africa, and the final one I chose to read. Now that I have read it I wonder why I left it so long! It was always interesting and frequently amusing - although I only "laughed out loud" on a couple of occasions. I feel enveloped in the story and rather sad that I have now finished the book.

There are a plethora of very interesting memoirs about African childhoods at the moment, many based in Zimbabwe where the War of Independence adds an extra dimension. This book is instead based in Botswana, which has thankfully had a very stable period post-independence. However there is still plenty of interest to read about with a fascinating family life, characterful neighbours, amusing wildlife encounters and the gruelling village clinics as the AIDS crisis hits. The story is told without any glorification and with a considerable amount of self-deprecation. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book

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