Twenty Chickens for a Saddle

Twenty Chickens for a Saddle : The Story of an African Childhood

3.85 (2,016 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
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When Robyn Scott was six years old her parents abruptly exchanged the tranquil pastures of New Zealand for a converted cowshed in the wilds of Botswana. There, they set off in the pioneering and unconventional footsteps of Robyn's eccentric grandfather, who had served as pilot to Seretse Khama, Botswana's first president. Their three small children, mostly left to amuse themselves, grew up collecting snakes, canoeing with crocodiles and breaking in horses in the veld. This is the story of the family's fifteen years in Botswana, during which Linda Scott haphazardly and single-handedly homeschooled Robyn, Damien and Lulu, while Keith ran a flying doctor practice and attempted, with erratic success, to adapt to the unique demands of rural clinics and the growing burden of AIDS.Funny and unsentimental, "Twenty Chickens for a Saddle" is an account of a remarkable childhood in which dissecting a snake was the closest Robyn and her brother and sister came to a biology lesson, and children from the cattle posts were their only classmates.
It also offers a unique portrait of modern Botswana, one of Africa's rare democratic success stories, against the backdrop of one of the continent's worst AIDS crises. The book remains throughout an uplifting, engaging and deeply affectionate portrayal of an extraordinary place and family.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 464 pages
  • 135 x 216mm
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Illustrations, map
  • 0747595968
  • 9780747595960
  • 1,398,579

About Robyn Scott

Born in 1981, Robyn Scott spent her childhood in Botswana before beginning her formal education at the age of fourteen in Zimbabwe. Moving to New Zealand for her undergraduate degree, she studied Bioinformatics at the University of Auckland. In 2004, she was awarded a Gates Scholarship to Cambridge University, where she took an MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise and studied the pricing of medicines in developing countries. Robyn lives in London, but visits and works regularly in southern Africa.
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Review quote

'Both a wonderful memoir of an exotic childhood and a striking portrait of one of the world's most beguiling countries. A gem of a book.' Alexander McCall Smith 'Elegant, evocative, poignant ... beautifully written.' Michela Wrong Robyn Scott writes vividly about her extraordinary childhood ... I felt almost as if I'd shared her adventures - and wished I had.' Samantha Weinberg 'Captivating, candid and utterly fresh, TWENTY CHICKENS FOR A SADDLE is a story of childhood, tenderness and joy' Aminatta Forna
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Rating details

2,016 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
5 27% (554)
4 40% (813)
3 25% (497)
2 5% (109)
1 2% (43)
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