Book review: Boy and Happy Roald Dahl Day!

Roald Dahl day partyHappy Roald Dahl Day everyone!

On the birthday of one of my favorite childhood authors, I am here with a review of the first part of Dahl’s autobiography “Boy,” or alternatively titled “More About Boy.” I was surprised that I have never come across this until recently despite having read the latter half of his memoir “Going Solo” years ago.

“Boy” describes the earlier half of Dahl’s life tracing his Norwegian parents arrival to Britain and later into his school years. It is such a fun and light-hearted book where you can read about the ingenious tricks he played on others and also his love for all things sweet and chocolatey. And of course, how could I forget the wonderful illustrations of Quentin Blake?

This book reminded me of his another work “Matilda” because both were set inside an English school where the main protagonists faced horrible teachers. During Roald Dahl’s time at prep school, he remembered a particularly nasty master (old English way of calling teacher) called Captain Hardcastle.

Master: What is it?
Boy: Please, sir, may I be excused to go to the lavatory?
Master: Certainly not. You should have gone before.
Boy: But sir… please, sir… I didn’t want to before… I didn’t know…
Master: Whose fault was that” Get on with your work!
Boy: But sir… Oh, sir… Please, sir, let me go!
Master: One more word out of you and you’ll be in trouble.

Naturally, the wretched boy dirtied his pants, which caused a storm later on upstairs with the Matron.

More about boyWhat I found even more endearing was Roald Dahl love for his mother that was plain for all to see in this work. As matriarch to a family of six children after her husband passed away, Sofie Dahl as described by her son ‘was undoubtedly the absolute primary influence on my own life.’ Throughout the author’s time away from home, he would assiduously send letters and photographs back to his mother who would then brilliantly kept them all neatly in a stack.

His favorite memories were their annual family trip to Norway for four weeks every summer and he wrote,

“I don’t think we knew how lucky we were to have a holiday like that every summer of our growing-up lives. I don’t think we knew either how lucky we were to have a mother who gave us such a lovely time every year.”

I find “Boy” such a lovely book suitable for children AND adults alike. This is unlike “Going Solo,” which has a more somber tone because of the historical involvement Dahl had in his adult years, “Boy” is a much simper tribute to our childhood.

BoyShare your memories of Roald Dahl below with me, and Happy Friday-the-thirteenth Roald Dahl Day!

22 thoughts on “Book review: Boy and Happy Roald Dahl Day!

  1. My brother had a set of Roald Dahl books, which I absolutely devoured when I was younger. My mum brought me some of his older books, ones about the war and his involvement in it, and I remember being amazed that he was actually born in Cardiff. (At that age when it’s amazing to find out anyone from the same area is talented/famous etc.) If you ever get a chance to visit Cardiff, there’s a lovely Norwegian Church down Cardiff Bay, right by Roald Dahl Plass. (

    1. Cool! I would definitely swing by the Roald Dahl Plass if I ever get down to Cardiff. Dahl’s books definitely made up a substantial part of my childhood memories just as for you 😀

  2. Danny Champion of the World is my favorite closely followed by BFG. I remember reading Boy when I was younger and really enjoyed it. Now my daughter has discovered Roald Dahl and wanted to learn more about him so we will be reading Boy together!

    Not even 10 when he died I still remember how disappointed I was thinking that there would never be any new Roald Dahl books to discover. When I’m actually re-discovering them all as an adult with my own daughter.

    1. It just feels so different to read Roald Dahl’s books as a child and as an adult. As a child, I felt that he was such a marvellous, quirky and brilliant guy who came up with these out of the world tricks. As an adult, I realized that his books were in fact filled with these dark shady characters and had strong anti-adult undertones in them. It’s like putting on a different pair of glasses to view his novels. Nonetheless, they are still as enjoyable as before!

    1. James and the Giant Peach is brilliant. Loved how he made centipedes, spiders and worms adorable characters rather than insects that made my skin crawl.

    1. Ah, that is a good one too! I remembered when I read it, I was so fascinated that you could actually catch trouts by tickling its underbelly. Sadly, we don’t have trouts in this region to try this method out.

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