Friday, September 4, 2009

Book 6/60: Boy by Roald Dahl

Ah, Roald Dahl: the fantastic, creative writer of children's fiction who seems to have lost a letter for his first name at some point in his life.

I love Dahl's stories. I love his heroes and heroines, I love the way he relates so naturally to his audience, I love his love for the mildly crude things like nose-picking and gas-passing, I love his use of magic and wonder to spark the imaginations of his readers. This book, however, is something entirely different: this is a collection of stories and memories from Dahl's own childhood. Scattered throughout are black-and-white photographs of Dahl's family and childhood homes. It is autobiographical, but it is not quite an autobiography.

From the author:

"An autobiography is a book a person writes about his own life and it is usually full of all sorts of boring details.
This is not an autobiography. I would never write a history of myself. On the other hand, throughout my young days at school and just afterwards a number of things happened to me that I have never forgotten.
None of these things is important, but each of them made such a tremendous impression on me that I have never been able to get them off my mind. Each of them, even after a lapse of fifty and sometime sixty years, has remained seared on my memory.
I didn't have to search for any of them. All I had to do was skim them off the top of my consciousness and write them down.
Some are funny. Some are painful. Some are unpleasant. I suppose that is why I have always remembered them so vividly. All are true."

160 pages
Published 1984
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York
No significant awards or nominations
Dahl's autobiographical tale was continued in a later book, Going Solo

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