For this year’s A to Z Blog challenge, I thought I’d draw back the curtain and explore the life and times of a bibliophile. Care to join me?
This is going to be short, sweet and to the point. I loved Roald Dahl when I was a kid. I went on a couple of long school trips when my father was stationed in Germany, and each time the teachers sponsoring our trips selected a book they would read to us in the evenings after dinner. For our ski trip to Switzerland, our sponsors chose Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. For our trip to Speyer, our sponsors chose Matilda.
Maybe it says something about me that I really, really, REALLY loved the somewhat dark and macabre tone Dahl’s quirky sense of humour took. I even liked that his main characters were somewhat ostracized for some quality or another. Not only did his main characters triumph over the harshness of their circumstances, the very qualities that made them outsiders were the traits that they were eventually recognized for. Charlie’s humility, the gratitude that came so easily to him, his strong sense of right and wrong. Matilda’s intelligence, her bond with Miss Honey. I very much liked the idea that the “bad eggs” got their comeuppance, sometimes in ways that were completely hysterical (Veruka Salt, anyone?).
Roald Dahl’s works have a dark whimsy to them, a macabre humour that lends just enough of the absurd to keep them from being completely morbid or disturbing. I just loved that sense of the ridiculous, the farfetched and the completely illogical. And yet his stories made perfect sense and were really quite reasonable, when you stopped trying to make all the elements make sense. They didn’t, and that was the point.
Oh, and the fact that he and I share a birthday? Yeah, that.