Happy 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. Continue reading
Roald Dahl’s books bring back a great deal of fantastic memories largely because he is such an animated and wicked storyteller whose stories appeal to large masses of audiences, rather than being primarily constrained to children per se.
I am not particularly certain which was my first Roald Dahl book, but if my remarkably limited memory does not fail me, it should be James and the Giant Peach.
Through James Trotter, who brought me on board his big peach with his six insect friends, I entered into the world of Roald Dahl where children and the weaker ones in the society are empowered to effect changes for themselves. Although Trotter suffered for years under his abusive aunts, his hard work, resourcefulness and camaraderie helped him successfully escape his unfortunate fate.
Such a similar theme resonates in his other books such as the highly popular Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Director Tim Burton said in a 2005 interview he responded to make the book into a movie because it respected the fact that children can be adults.
“It was one of the first times you had children’s literature that was a bit more sophisticated and dealt with darker issues and feelings,” he said. “Sinister things are a part of childhood.”
Apart from Charlie Bucket, the poor lad who lives with his parents, paternal and maternal grandparents in a rickety old house, the four other children who won the golden tickets were all warped characters. One is mad about TV, the other a glutton, another a gum addict and the last, a spoilt brat; but the most heartening part is to know that none of them had a good ending.
Watch the trailer for the movie below: