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

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  41,152 Ratings  ·  1,992 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 February 1st 1999 by Puffin Books (first published 1984)
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Taylor Brady This book did include the use of profanity (the A word is used a couple of times by Dahl). The context is definitely something the students would…moreThis book did include the use of profanity (the A word is used a couple of times by Dahl). The context is definitely something the students would enjoy, however they must also have some understanding of how the British English language can be used differently and note some of the spelling changes (color>colour).(less)
Cayman I would say no. This is because sometimes autobiographies are hard to do reports and other stuff on because of all these dates, facts,...! I do think…moreI would say no. This is because sometimes autobiographies are hard to do reports and other stuff on because of all these dates, facts,...! I do think for older kids you could do a "book club" talk session and use the book. Doing a quiz would be hard though:( Hope this comment helped answer your questions:)(less)

Community Reviews

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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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jo Woolfardis | Infinite Variety Books
A really lovely, endearing and funny account of a very lovely, endearing and altogether adventurous childhood from a wonderful author. Full review to follow.

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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.
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
Sep 14, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie, Wanda
From BBC Radio 4 - Drama:
To celebrate the centenary year of Roald Dahl's birth, a full dramatization of tales from his own childhood. Sometimes magical, sometimes grotesque but always true, Dahl's boyhood stories are as remarkable as the acclaimed fiction he would go on to write as an adult.

"An autobiography is a book a person writes about his own life. It is usually full of all sorts of boring details. This is not an autobiography."

The story of Roald Dahl's childhood is filled with excitement a
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
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
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?
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.
Jan 06, 2017 Pinky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An easy and entertaining read. Loved it.
Siddharth Nishar
Oct 31, 2016 Siddharth Nishar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dahl was born a century ago. This, along with his command over simple expressions wash the reader with anachronistic nostalgia.

The book serves to do three things. First, it paints a palpable picture of Norway's natural settings, beautiful in its atypical sceneries and the ways in which it shaped the locals.

Second, it paints a too-real image of the life for a child in days when anasthesia was considered unnecessary for minor surgeries and spanking with a cane stick was prevalent.

Third, it provid
Grady McCallie
Aug 25, 2016 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
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".
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
Sep 09, 2013 Hanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
Leave it to the wayward and whimsical Roald Dahl to write his memoirs in a very unorthodox way: a collection of memories that prove he didn’t only have a vivid imagination, but always had a way of looking at the world that would become golden in writing children’s books.

My favourite scene without a doubt is about the candy store where they sell liquorice bootlaces which they are meant to believe are made from rat’s blood.
”Every ratcatcher in the country’, the father had said, ‘takes his rats t
Kevin Hosein
Sep 09, 2012 Kevin Hosein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone remotely interested in Dahl or his books
Recommended to Kevin by: Given to me on my 26th birthday by Portia Subran.
'We all have our moments of brilliance and glory, and this was mine.'

"Boy: Tales of Childhood" was one of the books gifted to me by my girlfriend, Portia, on my 26th birthday. She had urged me to read this before delving into Roald Dahl's other work of personal nature, "Going Solo". So I started this today and finished it today. The book is described by Dahl not as an autobiography but just a recollection of events that he could skim from the top of his consciousness, events that have stayed wi
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
A must-read for lovers of Roald Dahl, this little book delves into tales from his early life, spanning his childhood up until he leaves for East Africa while working for the Shell Company (where the subsequent book Going Solo picks up the tale).

I've had this book sitting on my shelf for quite some time now, but I'm glad that I finally picked it up. It was definitely an interesting look into the life of one of my very favorite authors, and it was interesting to see what exactly made him tick. It
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Roald Dahl's Autobiography (2 books)
  • Going Solo

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“We all have our moments of brilliance and glory, and this was mine.” 226 likes
“When writing about oneself, one must strive to be truthful. Truth is more important than modesty.” 67 likes
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