Boy: Tales of childhood

…by Roald Dahl.

‘Boy’ is about Roald Dahl’s childhood days in his own words. You might be wondering why I didn’t just say it’s an autobiography.That’s because of what Dahl himself said

An autobiography is a book a person writes about his own life and it is usually full of all sorts of boring details. This is not an autobiogrpahy.

Rather, the book is about events and incidents that occurred during Dahl’s childhood days and that were memorable to him. It starts with his parents, goes through his school days and ends with him getting his first job. There are some hilarious events such as when he put dead mouse in a sweet jar at a shop due to his dislike for the lady who owned the shop or when he faked appendicitis because he was homesick. He also talks about some troubling events such as the beatings he and others received at the hands of teachers throughout school life or when his nose was sliced in an accident or when he had his adenoids out without the use of anasthesia.

Dahl covers events from prep school through to boarding school and finally a public high school. While his boarding school days startout with a Blytonesque feel to them, they are anything but with the mean teachers and headmaster and a nasty Matron. He talks about his family and the holidays they had in Norway. He also describes his mother’s struggles following the death of his father when he was very young. Dahl manages to give readers an insight into why some of his characters are the way they are. The mean characters in particular seem to be inspired by some people he came in contact with. The events also explain how he may have got the ideas for his books and how this creative mind works.

All in all, even if Dahl may not call it an autobiography, it is an entertaining one! I give it a rating of 4.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

James and the Giant Peach

…by Roald Dahl.

At the age of four, James Henry Trotter is orphaned and sent to live with his aunts Spiker and Sponge. Once he lives with his mean aunts, James’ life changes from the fun and idyllic times with his parents. His aunts are mean and nasty and put James to work. James leads a miserable life for about 3 years until he experiences something incredible. He meets a strange man who gives him a bag with thousand litte green things in it…magical things which are going to help James not feel miserable any more. Alas! James in his excitement, drops the bag and sees all the green things get sucked into the soil. However, when he wakes up the next morning, something strange is in store for him. A peach tree, that has never borne any peaches, has started to grow one. And it’s no ordinary peach. Rather it is a gigantic one. And when James looks at it at night, he finds an opening into the peach and meets the most unusual creatures in there — a Grasshopper, a Centipede, an Earthworm, a Ladybird, a Spider, a Glowworm and a Silkworm. All giants themselves. And waiting for James to join them. And thus, they embark on the most amazing journey and adventures as the peach leaves the garden.

This book by Dahl brought back memories of my Enid Blyton reading days. There was an essence of strange lands and strange people. With animals and creatures taking a human role, it was very much like the wonderful stories I enjoyed as a child. And the adventures…oh the adventures…they are brilliant! You find yourself smiling through most of the book once the group embarks on their journey. And there are moments of strife where you hold your breath. All in all, a brilliant children’s book by Dahl! I give it a rating of 4.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

The Giraffe and the Pelly and me

…by Roald Dahl.

Billy has a wish. His wish is that a dilapidated and unused wooden house be turned into a sweet-shop. When the house finally gets sold though, it isn’t turned into a sweet shop as he hoped. Rather, it is now the premises of the Ladderless Window Cleaning Company. Owned by a giraffe, a pelican and a monkey. Billy befriends these wonderful creatures and together they manage to secure a job with the Duke of Hampshire — the richest man in England. During their cleaning, they manage to help the Duke in ways he could never have imagined.

It’s a story about friendship and kindness and how one good turn deserves another. Dahl continues to portray animals in the best and kindest way possible as well as young boys. Apparently, Dahl values kindness as a trait in people and you can see that in most of his characters as well as the lack of it in some of his ‘villains’. Yet another beautifully penned story that brings to life the extraordinary. Dahl does have a way with words!

I give it a rating of 4.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!