My brother grew up reading Roald Dahl books with my mom, and every now and then I’d snag one to read as well, so I was definitely interested in learning some more about the man behind some of my family’s favorite books. Dahl wanted to be a rich dominant public figure and return to his childhood. He had written autobiographies which is where some of this book came from. It was interesting to find out his family backstory – how his sons pram was hit by a car and his son survived but ended up with medical problems and how he got divorced at 66 years old – 18 years after his wife had a stroke. Dahl was certainly an interesting character. It was also interesting to see how his life at the time affected the writing of some of his books. This book also includes photos which as always are my favorite thing.
I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.
About the Book
A New York Times Notable Book: A revealing look at the famous twentieth-century children’s author who brought us The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Few writers have had the enduring cultural influence of Roald Dahl, who inspired generations of loyal readers. Acclaimed biographer Jeremy Treglown cuts no corners in humanizing this longstanding immortal of juvenile fiction.
Roald Dahl explores this master of children’s literature from childhood—focusing a tight lens on the relationship between Dahl and his mother, who lovingly referred to him as “Apple”—through to his death. Treglown deftly navigates Dahl’s time as a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force, exploring how the experience transformed many of the beliefs that influenced the English writer’s work, including The Gremlins, which was commissioned by Walt Disney.
A former editor of the Times Literary Supplement, Treglown discusses many of Dahl’s most famous works, such as James and the Giant Peach and Fantastic Mr. Fox, while also delving into his marriage to actress Patricia Neal, combing through letters and archives to show a man who could be both comic and vitriolic, thoughtful yet manipulative and irascible. Treglown highlights many of Dahl’s literary achievements as well as his breakdowns and shortcomings, presenting a very personal and telling picture of the author and the inner turmoil that crippled him.
Separating the man from the myth, Treglown’s frank, intimate portrait of Dahl illuminates the contradictions within the mind of this beloved author, a man who could be both a monster and a hero. It is required reading for book lovers and film buffs alike.