Non-Fiction Reads: Boy by Roald Dahl

As the 1916-born Dahl declares in the introduction of the 1984 published Boy – The book is not an autobiography. Instead, it is a merry-go-round rewind of events that the writer vividly recalled and simultaneously wrote down. The flow is thus effortlessly conversational, that despite the episodic pieces, nothing seems untold, unfinished.
Dahl tells of his Norwegian parents, siblings, the motor-less era that he grew up in, the lack of anesthesia, mischief, horrors of corporal punishment, boarding school, psychotic teachers, friends, childhood pleasures, illness and pain. 
The last thing you will ever notice about Dahl’s writing is style. Instead, the sheer impact of storytelling draws one’s attention right into the tale.
You can clearly see where Dahl sourced his inspiration for the macabre – a quality that features prominently in his adult stories. 
Dahl’s schooling days were times of authoritarian discipline and subjugation, the writer thus developed an aversion towards the overbearing hostel matron (barrel-chested), stone-heartened principals and stodgy academicians, antagonist elements that his fiction writing exudes with subtlety.     
Boy is one of the best childhood memoir works ever written and can be read without any complain or constraint by children and adults alike. No kidding. 
It is as if Dahl were sitting beside us by a camp fire, narrating things as it were, knowing that the night will eventually fold up, and the fire die out.
Boy ends with Dahl, aged 22, leaving for East Africa on a three-year stint for his first employer – Shell.
The following years of World War II, flying for the Royal Air Force and other adventures are captured in Going Solo. This reviewer has procured a copy and hopefully these pages will one day reveal what we thought of its contents. 
Happy reading!

(Article by Snehith Kumbla) 

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