Lauren's Reviews > Danny the Champion of the World

Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
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Nov 20, 14

Read in March, 2011

Any time Roald Dahl came up in conversation over the past several years, at least one of my friends would mention Danny the Champion of the World as his or her favorite book. I was surprised -- I always imagined myself a Roald Dahl fan (as a little kid I must have read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory five times, and my copy of Matilda is dog-eared and faded from frequent use) and I had never heard of Danny until I was an adult. After reading a couple of chapters I turned to these friends and asked, "this is about pheasant poaching?!" Each shifted uneasily and promised it gets better. Or at least they vaguely remembered that maybe it might.

Turns out they were right. It's not about pheasant poaching (well, except for when it is), but rather the beautiful relationship that can exist between a loving father and a little son who adores him. It was so lovely to find out Dahl wrote a book where nothing terrible happens to the child protagonist -- he is just cared for and accepted and loved. As I read I imagined Dahl thinking about or reading out loud to his children ("Hello, my marvelous darling!"). As mentioned by some other reviewers, the morality espoused was rather subjective (it's not okay to be a mean rich man, but it is okay to cheat, steal, and bribe...), but I didn't mind, since each incident further drove home the point: Danny's father isn't a perfect human being, he is a marvelous and exciting dad. That's what matters most to him, and that's what matters most to his son, and, maybe, that's what matters most to Roald Dahl.

This hasn't displaced Matilda at the top of my Roald Dahl ladder, but it was simple and refreshing and delightful. I hope when I am a parent I will think back to this book and remember that sometimes it's important to be SPARKY!
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