Book #05

Esio Trot by Roald Dahl

Mr Hoppy, a retired bachelor, harbours a secret passion for his neighbour, the lovely Mrs Silver. Unfortunately she lavishes all her affection on another… Alfie, her pet tortoise. Mr Hoppy’s wildly ingenious plot to defeat his rival and win the love of his lady will delight and amaze, involving, as it does a cryptic riddle and no fewer than a hundred and forty tortoises, large and small.

I never had the chance to read this one when I was younger - in fact I had never heard of it until a few months ago. It's quite a unique and quirky little story, and I did really enjoy it, but I found it quite worrying for various reasons.

Mr Hoppy tricks Mrs Silver into believing her tortoise is growing, by replacing it with other tortoises of varying size. She falls in love with him because of this, and never learns the truth - that her beloved tortoise Alfie isn't who she thinks he is!

Essentially, this story is about building a relationship through lies and deceit. It is about obsession and neglect, and it also has a slight "men are very clever, women are very silly" undertone. It's a kids book, but it isn't really sending the best message.

It was cute in a way, and Quentin Blake's drawings really brought the story to life. I also liked the word play throughout the book - can you guess what Esio Trot is code for? A nice quick read, definitely worth passing half an hour with.

5 / 72 books. 7% done!