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Search tags: Roald-Dahl
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review 2017-08-11 09:51
Innocence - Roald Dahl

Without making sweeping generalisations most people have childhood memories that contain Roald Dahl. Many of us will have read at least one of his books, seen one of the film adaptations. Some of us may have memories of devouring all of the books of his they could find, one after the other.

 

I had read Boy years ago and retained a blurred memory of having loved the tales of his childhood, though I wouldn’t have been able to tell you any of those stories. As I read, the memories came back, this time with them, the overwhelming sense of creative mastery. The stories foretell the inspiration behind those works of genius still to come. The testing of chocolate in boarding school sowing the seeds of inspiration for the iconic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or the mouse in the gobstobbers perhaps the idea behind The Witches.

 

What is clear from this collection is that the reader becomes aware they are reading work from a fine story teller, one who has indeed mastered the craft. Every part of Boy is fascinating, from the history of how his parents met to how he gained the opportunity to go to Africa through his work. He is quite open with how joyous some memories are, and how difficult other periods of his life were to endure.

 

The other stories in the collection are also interesting to read. The theme of innocence is threaded throughout. This could be the innocence of a bullying victim, the innocence judged on outward appearance or innocence assumed to be lacking in another. Having read Boy first, the inspiration for some of the short stories or indeed on one occasion the possible inspiration for Boy, is apparent. I’m sure there was some cathartic quality to some of the writing but also a lesson being told – ‘this happened to me, just like possibly did to you. I’m still ok, I’ve made a success of my life and you can too’.

 

There are hints of the darker tones that thread throughout his other novels. Adept at show not tell, undercurrents of threat and malice are generated by the reader, whist the story itself may on first appearance be innocent. This should come as no surprise to most readers familiar with Roald Dahl. He is famous not just for his children’s stories but also for his adult fiction such as Tales of the Unexpected and the memorable short story Lamb to the Slaughter. Even his children’s books feature threatening enemies, warnings of the results of being spoiled and situations that boarder on child neglect.

 

Innocence is part of a new collection being reissued by Penguin. Together with Fear, Trickery and War the quartet has been curated with further works by Dahl and by authors he admired and given covers featuring striking artwork by Charming Baker.

Reading Innocence reawakened in me the love of Roald Dahl’s work. Granted this wasn’t love that was very dormant as I am now at the stage of encouraging my children to read his work, or at least have it read to them. As I read more of Boy and the other short stories I realised just how important his stories were to my childhood and the millions of other children who have read his books over the years. The genius of storytelling is, to me, to be able to engage a diverse audience, to hold them rapt, whatever their background. To have your stories told for decades after they were written and for new audiences to fall in love with them. To be able to draw a reader completely into a world that they are immersed. I hate to use the word genius lightly but in Roald Dahl’s case it is a title to which is justly warranted. Innocence is a glimpse into that genius, one that made me want to re-read more of his tales. Highly recommended.

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review 2017-06-27 00:38
The Twits - Roald Dahl,Quentin Blake

A very silly book that has Roald Dahl written all over it. Very entertaining with a little moral thrown in.

This is a pretty quick read. I liked the descriptions and illustrations a lot.

Since this book was published almost 40 years ago, there is some language in it that many modern parents may not approve of. However, I don't think you'd expect anything less from a book entitled The Twits. None of the words are bad in and of themselves, but I can see how most parents wouldn't want their children to pick up on calling people "freaks" or telling them to "shut up".

Still a good book and a very funny read.

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review 2017-06-23 18:03
I'm conflicted
Grandpa's Great Escape - David Walliams

I am struggling with how to express my feelings about Grandpa's Great Escape by David Walliams. This is due to the fact that this man might actually be a bigger Roald Dahl fan than myself and his writing definitely reflects that. I don't think that Walliams makes any bones about this but I do think that if you've read Dahl's works it will be difficult not to compare the two which leaves Walliams falling a bit short. (Sorry!) Read on its own merit, it's a great little book which touches on topics which I think are really important in middle grade fiction. Our main character, Jack, has a very special relationship with his grandfather who was a fighter pilot in WWII. Their relationship is a unique one which is further complicated by the fact that his grandpa has Alzheimer's disease and believes he is once again in the midst of the Battle of Britain. Jack's parents are torn about what to do with the old man but Jack is adamant that he continue to spend time with him...until the vicar puts an idea into their heads about the old folks home beyond the moors. In typical Dahl fashion, Walliams fashions a slapstick comedy amidst flashbacks to WWII and serious discussions over elderly care and familial loyalty.

 

What I didn't care for:

  • What felt like blatant ripoffs of Dahl's works as well as his illustrator, Quentin Blake

 

What I legitimately enjoyed:

  • The approach and handling of serious discussions revolving around elderly care and Alzheimer's
  • The glossary at the back which discussed in more detail the topics touched on in the book such as the Royal Air Force, Battle of Britain, etc.

 

I'd love to know what you guys think so please check the book out and leave a comment below. :-)

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-06-15 23:48
Granpa, tell me about when you were little
Boy: Tales of Childhood - Roald Dahl,Quentin Blake

What a great biographic piece. Dahl is an excellent story teller, and puts that to use: he doesn't waste pages in the minutia, or get scared of leaving swathes of time undressed, but picks the bits he wants to tell about his early life, because they are important, interesting, colorful, defining. It turns into a very entertaining read.

It paints a picture of a time. I was impressed by his mother courage and strength (and humor, and mettle, and pragmatism... she comes across as one awesome lady), horrified by much of the sadism involved in his education, and somewhat enlightened on the reasons for his often irreverent characters.

I laughed a lot. There is humor inside every part, from the comfort of hindsight, fondness of remembrance, matter-of-fact way harrowing or ridiculous situations are described, or dry irony.

I plain loved it.

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quote 2017-06-15 23:18
A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.
Boy: Tales of Childhood - Roald Dahl,Quentin Blake

Boy - Roald Dahl

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