Title: Boy: Tales of Childhood
Author: Roald Dahl
Illustrator: Quentin Blake
Series: Roald Dahl’s Autobiography, Book 1
Publisher: Puffin Books
Paperback: 176 pages
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
In Boy, Roald Dahl recounts his days as a child growing up in England. From his years as a prankster at boarding school to his envious position as a chocolate tester for Cadbury’s, Roald Dahl’s boyhood was as full of excitement and the unexpected as are his world-famous, best-selling books. Packed with anecdotes — some funny, some painful, all interesting — this is a book that’s sure to please.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
This was an interesting read full of fun childhood pranks and some horrible realities of what life was like during Dahl’s life in England. It gives a brief overview of the author’s childhood, detailing some shenanigans and especially describing what school life was like for young Dahl. If you’re a fan and have read a lot of his books, you get the added bonus of seeing where his inspirations came from; he talks about his love of going to the candy shop and picking out all sorts of interesting sweets, the horrible headmasters he’d had, among many other things. However, even if you don’t pick up on everything that might have influenced him, it’s still a great look at Dahl’s childhood, and it comes with awesome illustrations from Blake and some photocopies of the letters that Dahl wrote to his mother while he was in school.
I enjoyed this book a lot and appreciate that Dahl included the very best of stories; as he says in the book, it’s not an autobiography, because those are dull; rather, he includes the hilarious and terrifying without going very much into the mundane. While I thought every bit of this was great, my favorite parts were when he delved into his family life and the dynamic they had; I straight-up guffawed when he described a prank he played on his older sister’s fiancé, which the entire family was party to. Any Dahl fan would appreciate this, and I also think it’s a great bridge for middle-grade children to be introduced to non-fiction and memoir, since it reads very much like one of Dahl’s children’s books in terms of humor and outrageousness. Definitely recommended.