Lucy's Reviews > James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
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Nov 19, 08

Read in November, 2008

I shouldn't be allowed to read classic children's literature. My brain simply doesn't appreciate its intended purpose - creativity, imagination, fantasy. Instead, I wonder, "What's the point here?" Sometimes, there is a point, but I think with Ronald Dahl, the focus is placed on the magic and if there happens to be a story in there somewhere in be it.

I borrowed it from the library because it was on the most-commonly-banned-books-in-America shelf and I wondered how the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory could upset so many modest American readers?

I still don't know. Unless there is some upsetting symbolism that went way over my head and would be sure to go over the head of its intended audience, I don't understand how this book could offend anyone but mean, crusty old aunts who don't love and take care of their orphaned nephews.

That being said, I wish I loved this non-controversial story, but I didn't. I thought it was overly strange. Strange in a did-you-write-this-while-tripped-out-on-LCD? kind of way. Giant talking bugs. Living in a peach. Flying over the Atlantic Ocean with the help of string tied onto 501 seagulls via the giant silkworm and spider. Landing on the needle of the Empire State Building in New York. A ladybug marrying a police man (What the?). O.K then.

James was surrounded by mean, nasty aunts and now he's happy and living in a giant peach in New York City's Central Park. Wildly imaginative but famous through the ages?

To make sure it deserved its fame, I had my eight year old son read it (even though the word a** is in it twice. Why did Dahl do that?) and he liked it. He didn't love it. Not because it was strange but because like most things he reads, the characters are magical and the plot bizarre. For him, it seemed almost standard fare. When he finished, he handed it back to me and I asked, "Did you like it?" "Yeah." That's it. No buzz. No acting out parts of the story and certainly no regurgitating details from it like he does with some of his other books.

I guess we're just a bunch of fuddy-duddies around here because I found nothing extraordinary about James and the Giant Peach except it's eccentricity.
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Reading Progress

11/06/2008 page 160

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Brenda Lucy,

For me, James and the Giant Peach, was the BEST read-aloud book of all time. My children would brush their teeth, say their prayers, and be waiting! for me to bring the book in and read one chapter---the only book besides the first Harry Potter to motivate a speedy bedtime ritual. The voices were the very best part of the story, not the plot, not the characters, certainly not the warm, fuzzy feeling you definitely don't get, but the voices. Try it again from the prone position with a pile of kids on your lap. You'll love it!


Brian Hodges I agree with both you and Brenda. The story just didn't do it for me. I like my characters to strive after something. That being said, reading this out loud to my 5 year old was a blast for no other reason than the voice. There's plenty of opportunity to make them laugh.

message 3: by Donna (new)

Donna Munro if you go around looking for the point of things, you've missed it. Play doesn't have a point, it's practice and experiment and a grab bag of all the cool stuff you've lately happened on

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