Andy's Reviews > Boy: Tales of Childhood

Boy by Roald Dahl
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Aug 03, 12

bookshelves: 2012, illustrated, autobiography
Read from August 03 to 04, 2012, read count: countless

This was one of those eye openers for me as a child; I read Boy countless times (and back home still have the well worn edition from 1986). The concept of an autobiography was so new and radical, at a time when reading was all make believe and fiction; it 'really happened', it wasn't made up! Rather, a magical book that opened up another world, glimpsing a life I would never experience.

His remembrances of childhood and school life are frank, vivid and frequently horrific. In particular, his account of the unexpected removal of his adenoids has vividly stuck with me to this day, since I read it the first time (starkly imprinted as I too had my adenoids removed as a child and the graphic depiction freaked me out entirely). Tales of life at boarding school, fagging, the cane, chocolate and tuck boxes, a memorable car trip and a general air of menace exposed a truly different way of life.

Reading it now, I'm struck by how brief and narrow it is. It just seemed so much bigger as a child (much like headmasters, I guess). Still, I enjoyed revisiting it immensely. It's also great to pick out those glimpses of future Dahl stories and characters. This is a truly great book for kids to read and discover, even more so as we move further away from the era depicted.

Dahl says near the beginning that everything is true but it really doesn't matter either way. It's all story-telling magic. Well worth reading, whatever your age. Now, on to his later years...
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Andy Thanks. It's a great book to open the eyes and prompt conversation about colonialism and the war.


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