Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl, narrated by Dan Stevens

Dan Stevens has a voice like caramel hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows. He could have read the daily horoscopes and I would have been enthralled. Happily, Roald Dahl’s remembrances of his childhood are far more entertaining material, so the two combined make Boy a wonderful little audiobook.

At three hours long, it’s not a lengthy tome, but the content and years spanned paint a vivid picture of a not-always idyllic childhood. I first read Boy as a child, but the only part that stayed with me was the vivid image of the gobstopper jar in Dahl’s boyhood sweet shop. There are some musings here that seem rather big for younger minds – Dahl’s thoughts on corporal punishment and religion in particular. The book maintains a lasting warmth and enchantment, and despite being full of outdated concepts like fagging and school Bozers, I was repeatedly surprised to remember that most of the events relayed took place eighty to ninety years ago.

Dahl’s writing combined with Stevens’ narration made this feel less of a book, and more a conversation with a favourite uncle. It filled a few lovely walks, and I’d definitely like to read Dahl’s later memoirs in future.

[Read from 20-21 September 2016]

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