Vivid childhood memoir
Roald Dahl brings all his trademark powers of description to bear on this striking account of childhood memories, chronicling both the joyous and painful. Dahl, the child of Norwegian immigrants to Wales, begins by describing his one-armed father's unlikely journey to success and then his own early days of childhood and subsequent school years. There are many sparkling comic incidents, told with relish, but throughout an unmistakable theme is the cruelty of public (American: private) schools at the hands of sadistic schoolmasters. It's clear that Dahl very much sympathized with the plight of children, which sheds some light on his later success as a children's writer. Read this lively account to gain unique insight into how Dahl came up with the idea for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," for starters.
Derek Jacobi's reading of Boy was pure delight, It is by far one of the most enjoyable performances I've had the pleasure to listen to. He has a knack for delivering a variety of voices -- everything from a pompous headmaster to a Monty Pythonesque shrew of a shopkeeper, not to mention that his rendition of the "Boy's" voice was pitch perfect, with hints of "I, Cladius" stuttering and timidity but an unmistakable note of bravery and intelligence underneath. Bravo!