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Tick Bite Fever Paperback – September 28, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A hilarious memoir...Enchanting and amazing" The Daily Mail "A delight" The Guardian "Laugh out loud is an understatement...a wonderful insight into life in Africa from a two-foot high point of view, witty, touching and above all affectionate" The Press Assocation "Tick Bite Fever itches with mordant wit - there's at least one turn of phrase per paragraph that gets among your ribs like a feather duster. An excellent memoir" Uncut Magazine "Exotic hats off to David Bennun, who has written a book full of warmth and self-deprecating humour" Word Magazine

About the Author

Born in Swindon in 1968, Dave Bennun's family moved to Zambia in 1971. In 1973 the family moved to Kenya where they lived for the next 16 years. He has worked at Melody Maker and at Loaded. He is now freelance and writes for The Guardian, Observer, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Telegraph and GQ.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091897432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091897437
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,745,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Wayne on December 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
No oxymoron that. Not in David Bennun's hands. A Brit whose family left England for Colonial Africa in his boyhood, Bennun's nature evidently never expatriated the stiff upper lip, the sharp eye for the contagiously absurd, or---and this may be Fever's greatest selling point, for it makes all the rest so possible---the palate for language as only the bellwether British wield it. Far from a pythonesque humor; you know: with simple silliness the Wont that you often wish Wouldn't? Bennun is drop-dead funny. And I don't laugh-out-loud easily. More than once, my chest having long since rounded the corner into some soundless seismic convulsing, I dropped the book on my faintly blue-feeling face from asphyxiating in bed. (The story of his Jack Russell terrier alone is worth humor's All Time list.) And I ask you: How often do any of us ever delve along a literary skill that wastes not a single sentence? You can count those masters of concise thoroughness on half the one hand you use to hold up a favorite book (or in my case, not). Bennun is as aerodynamic an author, in his own milieu, as the greatest I've ever seen: and if that makes him the Nabakov of Satire? then Vladimir--not David--it is. Damn near every utterance morphs into a garrulous gem, no sentence dispensable, most quip-laden and quotable, all culminating in chapters memorable to a one about the real Africa in David's openly unreal vantage, his own foibles always foremost, from a self-deprecating wit-in-progress. Myself?.....Never one to let the complete absense of company dampen a conversation, I'd often read things in the book over again immediately--aloud--just to share them with somebody---Anybody---me usually the handiest, splitting my own sides with disemboweling dependability.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Suradit on July 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a memoir of a childhood spent in several countries, but mostly in Kenya. I`m drawn to the memoirs of people who lived in Africa because it helps me to relive an important part of my life, now left behind and for which I have frequent bouts of homesickness. I was especially drawn to this book because the author lived [briefly] in Zambia and he had suffered from "Tick Bite Fever," both of which stirred memories for me.

He didn't stay long in Zambia but his reminiscences of Kenya still resonated for me and I found it a good read, highly entertaining and evocative. His sense of humor made the book all the more enjoyable and on several occasions caused me to laugh out loud, which is not something I do all that often when reading.
On the other hand, at times his frequent resort to hyperbole fell flat and was over-stretched: "... khaki-clad figures sneaking out of the school gate at a rate to rival Albanian asylum seekers making a dash for the Chunnel," being one example.

He also at times became somewhat bogged down in cataloguing every last detail of events that didn't really warrant such attention and left me flipping pages to skip to the next part of the story.

Nonetheless it was a good read. Surviving Africa is no mean achievement even if it is only due to random good luck. It is probably best survived by those who can find humor in the trials and tribulations that seem never ending ... at least in retrospect. One of his final comments, "I don't think I could go back now," definitely struck a chord. I found it very difficult to leave, I frequently feel a need to reconnect, and yet I agree that I don't think I could go ever really go back again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tribal Nurse on June 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
I laughed and laughed, David Bennun really brings Africa back. He just knows people and the world you live in when you are there. I love Zambia and Kenya, and he just made it alive again. Thanks for the great read, and I won't sell mine!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Swizzlestick on November 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really wanted to enjoy this book, especially as I lived in Kenya for twenty years and looked forward to taking a trip down memory lane.

The first part I did find amusing. David was the kid from hell, always getting into trouble. The family's camping trips were also a good read, and I loved his doctor father's enthusiasm for playing around with old vehicles and his ability to get the family out of some of the predicaments into which he got them.

However, I felt that the tone of the book changed dramatically after the divorce of his parents, and from then on it rather lost its zing and the writing became less witty and less interesting. There are still occasional sparks of humour and a wry look at life in East Africa, but I found it finished on a flat note and was not as funny as I had expected it to be.

Speak Swahili Dammit, by James Penhaligon is in my opinion a far better book about an East African childhood.
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