Published in 1984
Boy, published in 1984, is a funny, insightful and at times grotesque glimpse into the early life of Roald Dahl.
The unadulterated childhood - sad and funny, macabre and delightful - that inspired Britain's favourite storyteller, Boy speaks of an age which vanished with the coming of the Second World War.
Boy: Tales of Childhood, published in 1984, is a funny, insightful and at times grotesque glimpse into the early life of Roald Dahl. In it, he tells us about his experiences at school in England, the idyllic paradise of summer holidays in Norway, and the pleasures and pains of the local sweetshop in Llandaff, Wales.
The story of how Roald came to write Boy is almost a tale in itself. It started with The Witches. In an early draft of that book, which has an unnamed young boy with a Norwegian grandmother as its narrator, there were three chapters that went into great detail about the boy's childhood. These chapters were actually drawn from Roald's own memories. So the boy in The Witches had a lot in common with his author.
An editor called Stephen Roxburgh was working with Roald at the time, and he thought that those three chapters belonged somewhere else. He suggested to Roald that he might like to re-use them in a book about his own early childhood. Roald did not want to write an autobiography but he thought that this was a very good idea. As he said himself in the introduction to Boy: "This is not an autobiography. I would never write a history of myself. On the other hand, throughout my young days at school and just afterwards a number of things happened to me that I have never forgotten."
And so, a year after The Witches, along came Boy, with its tales of boazers, goat's tobacco and the dreaded Mrs Pratchett.
We all have our moments of brilliance and glory...
Roald Dahl 1