Julie's Reviews > Boy: Tales of Childhood

Boy by Roald Dahl
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Jul 13, 10

bookshelves: 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 Rowling could have thought up the Dursleys without having read Roald Dahl first. I picked this book up for a quarter and have been carrying it around for years. It was a big surprise because Roald Dahl explains in essay style all of the childhood traumas he had that can be referenced back to his books. Boarding school in England sounds like it was corporal punishment Hell run by grotesque freaks. Doctors in turn are sadistic or the wisest people depending on the anecdote. His life was held together by his stoic Norwegian mother, his large brood of siblings and punctuated by horrible accidents and stints at boarding school. Dahl seems like a scalliwag himself. I am glad I hung onto it and next time I need to recommend a biography to a teen who doesn't want to read about Lincoln or Favre I will know where to send them.
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