Matt's Reviews > Boy: Tales of Childhood

Boy by Roald Dahl
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's review
May 08, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: childrens, biography-memoirs
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As a fan of Roald Dahl's children's books from when I myself was a young one, I was interested when my wife recommended me "Boy." Its a short and light read, as far as autobiographies go.

It is full of cute little stories about Dahl's childhood, mostly revolving around major pranks he managed to pull off as a kid. One lovely scene tells the story of Dahl and friends putting a dead mouse in a jar of sweets at a store run by an unfriendly old lady.

The part I found most intriguing about the story, however, is the awful conditions that children had to go through in the school systems of 1920s and 30s England. The teachers portrayed in Dahl's book are absolutely vicious people who beat the holy heck out of children at the drop of a hat. Makes me glad to have grown up in an era where this sort of thing is not only frowned upon, its illegal.

As to be expected, Dahl's prose is very good. He writes nicely with good imagery and a knack for making things smooth and easy to understand. There is no pretension in his writing, and it is refreshing. It's not a fantastic book by any stretch, but it was certainly good, and worth a read, especially as a cautionary tale: If you travel back in time, don't go to boarding school in the 1920s and 30s.
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message 1: by Somerandom (new)

Somerandom Don't go to school during the 30s and 40s period! My dad attended public school in Australia and they were no better. Brutal and sadistic were words he used often to describe his short school life.

Matt And we wonder why there was a wide spread fear of intellectuals.

Matt And we wonder why there was a wide spread fear of intellectuals.

message 4: by Somerandom (last edited Sep 30, 2014 09:16PM) (new)

Somerandom Indeed. But it wasn't so much fear of intellectuals as it was fear of authority, any authority. Brutality under the guise of eliciting respect.
My Father was haunted by his school experiences and their labels (rebel, hoodlum, two bit hood) but was exceedingly gentle and warm hearted. Though he despised any adult who raised their hand towards a child, for any reason (excepting self defense.)

The scary thing is, this practice actually isn't that far in the past. As late as the 1980s and 1990s (in High Schools) corporal punishment was used, though to a lesser extreme. And is still used to varying degrees to this day, in practically every country.

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