Fiona's Reviews > Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl

Storyteller by Donald Sturrock
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Mar 11, 12

bookshelves: misogyny, biography, book-about-books
Read from March 09 to 11, 2012

As a big fan of 'Boy' and 'Going Solo', it was fascinating to read more about Roald Dahl's adult life, including his work in the United States during World War 2, particularly his espionage work for the British government alongside his pal Ian Fleming. Donald Sturrock has created a meticulously researched biography, where he disputes long-held truths about Dahl's life, often stories spun by Dahl, the master story-teller himself.

Even though it is a commonly-held assumption that Dahl was a bit grumpy and difficult, it was pretty shocking to read some of his thoughts about women's roles in society. Here's a sample from a letter written from Dahl to a friend about Dahl's new wife. Would this have been a 'commonly-held truth' in the 1950s?

"To have a career and to be a wife at the same time is goddam hard work and I've noticed that the few who do it successfully (and it can be done), seem to double their efforts to be a wife in order to compensate for the other. A woman cannot get by saying to herself, 'I am a successful career person and therefore I do not have to be much of a normal wife. My husband will not expect me to be a normal wife because I have this great career to look after.' She can't say that, because, unfortunately, and although he makes allowances, he still expects her to be comparatively normal - certainly when she's not working."

This biography has definitely made me eager to read more of Dahl's adult fiction, which never really caught my interest. Perhaps the idea of such dark and disturbing narratives residing in the head of my favourite childhood author was too difficult to deal with...
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message 1: by Laurie (new) - added it

Laurie wow ..thought provoking thanks


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