More About Boy

by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
 2008 hardcover – autobiography

This is the 25th anniversary edition of Dahl’s book Boy, updated and with additional material. I read some Dahl when I was young, notably Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Later I added James and the Giant Peach to the list and have read a few other things, but by no means all of his written output. I’ve enjoyed what I read, as I recall – it’s been quite a while – and after reading a review of this on Stainless Steel Droppings, I thought I’d give it a try. Like Carl, the edition I borrowed from the library is this one, the 25th Anniversary edition, which as noted above has added material to the original Boy, published in 1984, including photographs and asides by the author. It also features many wonderful illustrations by Dahl-illustrator Quentin Blake. More About Boy is Dahl’s autobiography from birth up until the time he got his first job post-graduation. This book is written in a way that will appeal to younger readers but will be enjoyable, if light, fare for the adult reader as well, and adults may better understand some of the difficult, sometimes disturbing scenes in the book. These are mostly the recounting of events occurring while Dahl was in English Prep school and then in Public school. The practices of the day are not allowed and would not be tolerated now, but caning and other severe punishments were common then. If you have ever sent the film Tom Brown’s Schooldays (I recommend the 1940 version with Sir Cedric Hardwick, available on DVD) you will have some idea of such practices. Much of the book is taken up with these stories from boarding school, though also presented, much more happily, are family vacations and other events. The sequel to this Book is Flying Solo, which covers the early manhood of Dahl, especially his years in East Africa and during the Second World War. If you have ever read any of Dahl’s stories and would like to know a little more about him, this may be of interest.

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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9 Responses to More About Boy

  1. I have this book on order. I’ll read anything Dahl wrote.

  2. Richard says:

    You could get it at the library, George, or perhaps that’s what you meant.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Sounds good, Rick. I’ve read JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH and some of his adult mystery stories. I’ll definitely get it at the library.

  4. Fence says:

    I loved Dahl’s stuff so much when I was younger. I think I was around 12 or 13 when I read everything I possibly could by him. My favourite has always been Danny, Champion of the World.

    We’ve been buying a lot of sets of his books at work lately, kids in Ireland are still reading him, which I love, and I have been very tempted to splash out on a set of my very own.

  5. Richard says:

    I’m reading the sequel to this one, Going Solo right now, and it’s great, better than this one, I think. It’s a more adult, more typical autobiographical work.

  6. Carl V. says:

    I’m glad you were able to track this down and that you enjoyed it. I’m always fascinated by the way schools, etc. were in the “old days”, even more so by the practices in England. I really enjoyed this one and enjoyed Going Solo even more. The stories in Solo are so incredible you almost believe they were made up. It is no wonder he wrote such imaginative stories, his life was certainly quite the breeding ground for ideas and inspiration.

  7. Todd Mason says:

    Well, as with Marijane Meeker’s ME ME ME ME ME: NOT A NOVEL, this memoir was aimed at his younger audience (I hope she produces another memoir after HIGHSMITH)…a neat conceit, when one thinks about it, to pitch the memoirs to the age one was during most of the events dealt with at the time. I certain was taking in all the Dahl, juvenile and adult, I could find in the ’70s.

  8. Todd Mason says:

    Dealt with in the volume, I meant to type.

  9. Pingback: The BFG | Susan Hated Literature

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