Sunday, August 26, 2007

Boy Tales of Childhood

I read to my children every day. Now they are bigger I have the chance to enjoy re-reading Roald Dahl's books for children such as Matilda, one of my favourites.

I read these myself, when I was a child and then again with my eldest daughter, but we've mislaid a few copies over the years. I was searching for a replacement "George's Marvellous Medicine" when I came across 'Boy Tales of Childhood." Could it be that I'd missed one of his publications? I had.

This is a slim volume of a mere 176 pages. I only wish that it were considerably longer. The blurb reads, "A brilliantly coloured, sometimes grotesque and sometimes magical world." I'd say that was fair comment but weak.

The marvel of this book is that it captures the quintessential elements of childhood in Britain. Now of course I would say that, but what is far more fascinating, is that young Dahl and his family were Norwegian, but living and growing up in England, back in the bad old days.

Regardless of my views of the very popular, "Tales of the Totally Predictable," this book allows us to see the links between a boy's early life experiences and the later products of his mind. Twisted? Maybe, but tantalizing.

There's an easy, fluid style that makes you feel that you're just sitting down having a chat with the author. Dare I mention that the British version differs from it's American cousin? But do not fear Amazon UK will deliver out here. [But the exchange rate is dire at the moment]

If you remember those illustrations by the illustrious Quentin Blake, then that's the kind of eye candy that puts me at ease.

But I know what you want to know! "But is is funny Maddy?" And I understand your impatience, but the thing is, humour is such a personal matter. I like a good laugh, but I like the kind of giggle that makes you wince at the same time. Bitter sweet? Pretty close. If you enjoy the kind of humour that causes the brain pain of "cognitive dissonance," then this my friend is the book for you.

And in my other "life".......


Hammer said...

Thanks for the recommendations, I'm trying to get my kids back into reading.

mcewen said...

Ooopsie - don't read them this one, it'll give them nightmares! This is strictly adult material.

flutter said...

I love these, couldn't agree with you more.

Anonymous said...

It's Liz from I Speak of Dreams. Oh I loved reading Roald Dahl aloud, especially to my daughter, who is dyslexic. One of the first books she reported really enjoying reading independently was The Witches. I read Boy to her in 6th or 7th grade. Can I borrow your UK copy some day?

The second volume in his autobiography is called Going Solo and covers the war years. There's also a posthumous volume, D Is for Dahl: A gloriumptious A-Z guide to the world of Roald Dahl, compiled by Wendy Cooling.

meno said...

Roald Dahl is a sick sick man! I love that in a person.