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Boy: Tales of Childhood (Roald Dahl's Autobiography #1)

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  39,484 Ratings  ·  1,860 Reviews
In Boy, Roald Dahl recounts his days as a child growing up in England. From his years as a prankster at boarding school to his envious position as a chocolate tester for Cadbury's, Roald Dahl's boyhood was as full of excitement and the unexpected as are his world-famous, best-selling books. Packed with anecdotes -- some funny, some painful, all interesting -- this is a boo ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 5th 1986 by Puffin Books (first published 1984)
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Kcgood It's an all-ages book--not a children's book. There is nothing that would be inappropriate for children, but I don't think it was aimed specifically…moreIt's an all-ages book--not a children's book. There is nothing that would be inappropriate for children, but I don't think it was aimed specifically at children. It does include episodes of boys being caned/switched at school, which was apparently accepted (if dreaded) practice at the time, and he treats it as such--nothing that we would accept now, but not something that made news then. I would have no qualms about my middle-schooler reading it, but I would expect her to ask questions. It does maintain a relatively cheerful tone throughout; you get a sense of a kid who is resilient, curious and loved; one too smart to be entirely obedient, and one who blooms where he is planted.(less)

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This is a charming collection of stories from Roald Dahl's childhood. I loved his books when I was a kid (my favorites were Danny the Champion of the World, The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and it was fun to hear some true tales from the great storyteller.

One of my favorite stories was about the free candy bars he got when he was at boarding school. Cadbury's would send over boxes of test chocolates, and the boys would sample the new flavors and write their reviews. Dahl said the b
(Deciding to re-read this book was inspired by the wonderful ladies at Gathering Books and their fantastic bimonthly meme‘Everything Dahl and Magical’. Which I absolutely adore. )

“When writing about oneself, one must strive to be truthful. Truth is more important than modesty. I must tell you, therefore, that it was I and I alone who had the idea for the great and daring Mouse Plot. We all have our moments of brilliance and glory, and this was mine.”

I first read this glorious memoir aged twelv
Oct 07, 2011 Sita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Roald Dahl
Recommended to Sita by: Yr 7 English Teacher
I read this in year 7 for English and I loved it.

Me, I normally hate school books. But this one was different, I really liked this one. It was just so interesting. I can still remember half the stuff that happened in the book. That is how much it stuck with me. I recommend this to fans of Roald Dahl and even non fans, this book is different from all his other work.


Good different...

I still recommend it, the things that happen and how he describes it is just...


That is the only word to describe
Sep 29, 2007 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Both children and adults
My interest in reading this novel was stimulated a few weeks ago when I visited some friends, one of whom over the course of the evening dug up his collection of Roald Dahl books and proceeded to reintroduce us the magic we had near forgetten we had experienced as children in reading them.

I have always loved the sheer dottiness of the tales of Roald Dahl - the horrid nature of the some of his adult characters and the heroic nature of his young but strong willed main characters.

What I loved abo
Dec 26, 2015 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before this year, I'd never read any of Dahl's work, and when I picked this up I didn't realize that it was an autobiography. So imagine my surprise when I crack the book open and see nothing at all whimsical or silly. Which is cool, but just not what I expected. Not reading the description strikes again!

Anyway, this is a nice collection of stories from Dahl's childhood and while I think that maybe a bit is embellished (who can remember that much detail from early childhood?), I enjoyed it quit
Aug 03, 2012 Andy rated it it was amazing
This was one of those eye openers for me as a child; I read Boy countless times (and back home still have the well worn edition from 1986). The concept of an autobiography was so new and radical, at a time when reading was all make believe and fiction; it 'really happened', it wasn't made up! Rather, a magical book that opened up another world, glimpsing a life I would never experience.

His remembrances of childhood and school life are frank, vivid and frequently horrific. In particular, his acc
Michelle Scott
Aug 03, 2007 Michelle Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite autobiography. I was envious of Dahl when he told of the story of when Cadbury would send new candy to his boarding school for the children to test. I remember the candy he described, it sounded delicious, but today you can't find the candy because this was around the 40's. I don't know why I just went on a tangent about candy; I guess Roald Dahl has that effect on me.
Saoirse Sterling
A really lovely, endearing and funny account of a very lovely, endearing and altogether adventurous childhood from a wonderful author. Full review to follow.
Sara Kamjou
Jun 17, 2016 Sara Kamjou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: رمان
این کتاب به نوعی به عنوان زندگینامهی رولد دال شناخته میشه اما اصلا شبیه یک بیوگرافی خسته کننده نیست. کتاب پر از داستانهای بامزه از زندگی شخصی رولد دال ه و با خوندن این کتاب میبینیم که شخصیت خودش تا چه حد توی خلق داستانهاش مؤثر بوده.
شخصیت مادر رولد دال رو خیلی زیاد دوست داشتم. کسی که با وجود اینکه رولد تکپسرش بوده و شوهرش هم اوایل بچگی بچههاش از دنیا میره لوس بارش نمیاره. حنی وقتی قرار میشه بره آفریقای شرقی به جای اینکه مثل اکثر مادرها از دوری بچهش غر بزنه تشویقشم میکنه! خلاصه اینکه مادرش برام ال
I am very fond of reading books about children’s bitter experiences. Perhaps I believe in American psychologist, Erik Fromm’s belief that “ to understand children, we, adults, try to think like a child again.”Unfortunately, not all adults are aware of this fact. That’s why the main purpose of literature is to educate people about life, basically about children life. I have read some books about children. I can hardly ever forget Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt ( 5 stars ), The Butcher’s Boy by P ...more
Roald Dahl è il mio mito.
Lo è da quando, a sette anni o giù di lì, l'ho scoperto per la prima volta, e probabilmente lo sarà per sempre.

Ha una voce inconfondibile, una visione del mondo che fa invidia e una vita splendidamente eccitante. C'è qualcosa nel suo modo di scrivere che rende ogni aneddoto, ogni capitolo e ogni personaggio assolutamente memorabile e facile da visualizzare. È divertente, a tratti esilarante, confortante e spaventoso, e a volte serio. È questo, forse, quello che ha dato a
Feb 13, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not usually one for autobiographies, but this one rocked. Ronald Dahl was a fortunate child. Fortunate that he wasn't killed many times by events in his life and by the awesome adventures and memories he was privileged to have.
I will give you my favorite excerpt from this book.
"It won't take two seconds, " the doctor said. He spoke gently, and I was seduced by his voice. Like an ass, I opened my mouth.
The tiny blade flashed in the bright light and disappeared into my mouth.

You must read the
What child is not completely enamored by the stories written by Roald Dahl? For that matter, what adult does not have a special place in their heart for his audacious, fantastical, magical, whimsical tales? Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, James & The Giant Peach, Fantastic Mister Fox, Matilda. To name only a few. Not to mention his equally magnificent fiction / nonfiction for adults.

Here is a chance for a behind-the-scenes look into this storyteller's world. What was this man's childhoo
Terri (Le Book Chronicles)
I really enjoyed this book. You don’t even have to be interested in Roald Dahl himself to enjoy this book, if you are just intrigued about what it must have been like to grow up in the ‘olden days’, then you should definitely read it. Full review on my blog -->

Question: Does anyone actually go to my blog?
Oct 30, 2008 Eleanor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think Roald Dahl is probably the best children's storyteller. When my third grade teacher read "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" to our class I remember thinking, "This guy is really good." But as good as "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is (or The Twits or The Witches or Matilda or pick your favorite), it is "Boy", his memoir or childhood written for children, that I read so many times that the copy I found in my basement last week is completely ripped to shreds. He writes for children a ...more
Jan 25, 2011 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Normally I would only give this about three stars, but I remember being fascinated by this book as a child. Now I think that there's very little real content -- I read it while my girlfriend was having dinner, for god's sake, and she didn't take that long, not even as much as an hour I'd say -- but of course what there is is well written and fun, and you can see the seeds of Roald Dahl's books in his autobiography. Not just the big ideas, but the sense of fun and even the way he describes things ...more
Recommended to me by my 10 year old (she wanted me to read the one about the adenoids), this is just a lovely book. It's a precious adjective but applies perfectly to this book. It's not really an autobiography: Dahl spares us the tedious details and focuses on the good bits. Great for anglophiles (and norwegiaphiles if there is such a thing) and also a revealing glimpse of an era when children were treated in ways that would make modern parents blanch.
Nov 23, 2015 Meli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maravillosamente maravilloso.

Pilar ☽
Lovely book!
I had to read this to help my little sister with her homework... I'm such a great sister.
Grady McCallie
Apr 22, 2014 Grady McCallie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roald Dahl's fiction for adults is often dark and twisted. In his fiction for kids, that impulse is usually kept in the background, displaced in the main thread of the story by the sheer likeability of the main character, even if there are periodic signals that the world of the story has a lot of cruelty in it.

Boy, Dahl's memoir of his childhood, explains a lot of this - his remembered youth consists of wrenching losses, exile to a series of dreadful boarding schools, and brutal medical procedu
Mar 10, 2015 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-the-chaser
Boy: Tales of Childhood was a marvellous autobiography. Throughout this book, I was able to see where Roald drew his inspirations from for his children's books. His life experiences were admirable, particularly because he lived through such tough times, when compared to our current lifestyles today where we take most things for granted. I can't imagine how much pain Roald suffered during his adenoids removal and broken nose without anaesthetic! And not to mention his poor bottom that suffered th ...more
Apr 19, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am relatively new to the books of Roald Dahl, so I thought it would be interesting to read his autobiography, concentrating on his childhood and school years. There is something about biographies of childhood that is magical -- probably because there is something magical about the way we see things during our early years. Our adult years are as a sparrow to childhood's brilliantly-colored toucan.

Dahl apparently has access to most of the letters he wrote home from his various boarding schools.
Beth Bonini
I have recommended this book to a number of 10-12 year old boys over the years, even though I had (until this week) never actually read the entire book myself. Generally, I only recommend books that I have actually read - but I had read enough Dahl books to know that this one was a safe bet. Now that I HAVE read it, I would put it against my very favourite Dahl books. Anyone who already likes the Dahl oeuvre will enjoy learning about his own life - or at least selective episodes from it. The man ...more
Feb 03, 2016 Gaby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meh... I really wanted to know more about his time in the army.
I hate to admit that I was bored.
Yes, bored while reading a Roal Dahl book.
This one proves it's possible
César Lasso
Jan 20, 2015 César Lasso rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brit-lit
No soy aficionado a la literatura infantil: de Dahl, lo que más me gusta son sus cuentos exclusivamente para adultos, así como su novela My Uncle Oswald. De todos modos, estas son las memorias de infancia de un Dahl ya adulto y consagrado como escritor, y están impregnadas de su divertido genio y sarcasmo.
Parinaz Mosayebi
Feb 24, 2015 Parinaz Mosayebi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Today after an hour of sleepy studying I was hovering around the school library when I saw this Roald Daul book on a shelf and grabbed it. A few paragraphs and "that's it!" The librarian was watching me with a big funny smile on her face so I had no other way but to walk toward her like a real senior studying for university entrance test and try not to think that almost every book I pick up in the school library is a children's book. :-"
I know this is not a review! What's the point in writing on
Was a breeze through read giving me a peek into the childhood and ancestry of Roald Dahl. A good overview of the British school system of those days. I also came to know about the motivation behind his book "Charlie and the chocolate factory".
Jul 13, 2010 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
Reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the first time was almost a mystical experience. I was around Charlie's age and even though I knew the book was way out there in terms of reality I understood the disconnect Charlie felt towards adults and authority. I didn't read lots of Dahl's other works until I was in library school. As an older reader I was struck by how hideous and cruel the adult characters were and how hapless the lives of the kid characters were written. I don't think JK Row ...more
May 13, 2012 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit
"Boy" is a hilarious, sometimes painful, and didactic account of a young British man's life in the first part of the twentieth century. This young man just happpens to become the very influential author and diplomat, Roald Dahl. I am a big Roald Dahl fan, and its wonderful to get a glimpse into the childhood of a brilliant mind, who gave the world many wonderful characters, this time all nonfiction. Next I think i'll reread "Matilda" and "The BFG".

The memoir takes a the reader on a walk through
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 12, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tata J
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: 501
The beauty of this book is in the way it was written. It's like Roald Dahl was your buddy and for each time you were together, he told you pieces of his life when he was very young. It is not as grandiose as say Frank McCourt's ANGELA'S ASHES (that was not all true according to its critics). In fact, the chapters of this book, BOY: TALES OF CHILDHOOD is composed of Dahl's young life anecdotes that he would not forget. He, unlike McCourt, though, professed in this book's introduction, that these ...more
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Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer and screenwriter of Norwegian descent, who rose to prominence in the 1940's with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world's bestselling authors.

Dahl's first published work, inspired by a meeting with C. S. Forester, was Shot Down Over Libya. Today the story is published as A Piece of Cake. The story, about his wartime adv
More about Roald Dahl...

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“We all have our moments of brilliance and glory, and this was mine.” 225 likes
“When writing about oneself, one must strive to be truthful. Truth is more important than modesty.” 62 likes
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