Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl
The remarkable story of Roald Dahl's early years at school and with his family.
Roald Dahl is a hero of mine. I was given the Phizz Whizzing Collection for Christmas which is comprised of fifteen of his most brilliant works, and couldn't think of a better start to the year than working my way through that.
I had never read this one before, nor have I read any of Dahl's other autobiographical novels. I was excited to read about Dahl's younger life, and I wasn't disappointed. His non-fiction writing is exactly the same as his fictional work - eccentric and barmy. His imagery is excellent, the writing is lovely and smooth; it's refreshing.
The book is full of nice little episodes in Dahl's life that he remembers in particular. I'm not usually a fan of autobiographies, they seem very contrived to me; I am always very dubious of them. But in this one, Dahl admits that he doesn't remember much about his childhood apart from a few random happenings, and it’s these we are given. There is also a brilliant disclaimer at the beginning of the book, warning us, "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 autobiography." Genius.
The lovely thing about this book is that you're shown from time to time, with clarity, where Dahl found influence for his subsequent children's novels. He mentions a certain episode that influenced Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but other characters are apparent in these pages; one in particular being Dahl's various nasty school teachers, and even the matron, who all reminded me of Miss Trunchbull from Matilda.
I'd definitely recommend this one if you're a Roald Dahl fan. I absolutely loved the insights into his inspirations, and also being allowed to get to know him better. It reads almost like one of his fictional works, which is wonderful, and it’s a light and easy read.
1 / 72 books. 1% done!