Review: Boy by Roald Dahl

Boy by Roald Dahl

Summary (from Goodreads):

Twenty-five years ago in “Boy,” the world’s favorite storyteller recollected scenes from his youth–some funny, some frightening, all true. “More About Boy” is the expanded story of Roald Dahl’s childhood, with his original text augmented by never-before-seen material from behind the scenes, and some of the secrets that were left out. Dahl’s adventures and misadventures during his school years are crowded with people as strange and wonderful as any character he created and are as exciting and full of the unexpected as his celebrated fiction. This special keepsake hardcover edition is filled with personal memorabilia such as family photos, letters, report cards, plus dozens of illustrations by Quentin Blake, as well as a quiz to test the knowledge of Dahl aficionados of all shapes and sizes.


Every now and then I experience the absolute need to read a Roald Dahl novel. Don’t ask me where this need comes from, but when it does, I pick up either a much-loved, much read novel of his or one that I had not read before (which tend to be his autobiographical work).

This particular novel, Boy, was suggested to me by a colleague who had used it with her grade seven students and she could not contain herself when she told me how much the students had loved it. So, to make a long story short, I read the novel.

And loved it! The novel focuses on Dahl’s education and his experiences at the different British boarding schools (his father insisted that his children receive a “British” education) he attended before finishing secondary school. While most of his experiences (friends, photography, writing) appeared to have been positive, he seemed to have had a terrible time with principals and teachers, especially when it came to discipline.

The most touching part of story was the number of letters Dahl wrote his mother every time he was away from home – from the first time he went away to school as a young boy to the times when he traveled for work, and then for war. Mrs. Dahl kept every letter the young Dahl wrote her, which I find touching and unspeakably sad.

This is a wonderful novel, and although most teachers are painted as horrors, it was nice to spend time with and get to know the boy behind the legendary author. Recommended.


2 thoughts on “Review: Boy by Roald Dahl

  1. I have to get this, I love Roald Dahl and anything by him or about him, I know will appeal to me. A glimpse into his life is a perfect way to get a feel for how is writing began. Is my fourth grader to young for this, do you think? She has read most of his other books.

    1. It’s a lovely book, Meditating Mummy – know you’ll love it! I don’t think your 4th grader is too young for this. The writing is much like his fictional work, which is to say simple and story-like. There’s nothing frightening or disturbing in the novel, but there is death, which might be an issue (it made me cry). Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the book 🙂


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