Roald Dahl has written a book called “Boy” about his childhood, but it is not a dull autobiography. A lot of funny episodes happened through Roald’s childhood, and we hear about them.
At first, Roald tells us about his parents. They were both Norwegian, but Roald’s father moved to South Wales when he was quite young, he was a shipbroker. So, Roald is born in Llandaff, South Wales in 1916. Roald’s sister dies from appendicitis, and soon their father dies. He goes down with pneumonia, and wants to follow his daughter to Heaven.
Roald’s mother is a courageous woman, and when her husband dies, she remains in Wales. She just moves to a smaller house. She seems to be very important to Roald, she always knows what to do, and she always supports him.
When Roald is six years old, he goes to a kindergarten called Elmtree House. Then, he goes to a preparatory school, Llandaff Cathedral School. During his years at this school, a few special things happen. The centre of Roald and his friends’ lives is a sweetshop. They buy sweets for the money they get, and Roald gives a vivid description of each sweet product. The woman working in the sweetshop is called Mrs Pratchett. Roald tells us that her clothes are dirty, and she is a hag. So, when the young boys find a dead mouse, they put it into one of the jars in the shop. Mrs Pratchett finds out that the boys have put it there, and the Headmaster at Llandaff Cathedral School, Mr Coombes, canes the boys.
Again, Roald’s mother is a very nice woman. When she sees Roald’s bottom, she decides that Roald is going to leave this school and start at a new one in England. Roald’s father used to say that the English schools were the best.
St Peter’s School is the name of Roald’s next school. Roald remembers one teacher, Captain Hardcastle. When the boys are doing Prep, he sits on his desk in front of them all, searching for trouble. Roald is caned by the Headmaster because Captain Hardcastle tells him that Roald cheats in Prep.
Roald is homesick when he is at St Peter’s School, and he pretends to have appendicitis (he knows how to do it, because his sister has her appendicitis removed a few weeks earlier). Then he is sent to the doctor, and he understands that Roald just is homesick.
The Matron is an ogre, according to Roald. She also seems to be one; once she puts soap into the mouth of a poor little boy who is snoring. We also hear about many other episodes.
Every summer holiday, when Roald does not have to think about flogging and malicious Headmasters and Matrons, the whole family goes to Norway. They first go to Oslo, where they meet the grandparents, and then to the island of Tjøme. Roald tells us how beautiful it is. And his mother arranges all perfectly. They go bathing and fishing and have a lot of fun. Roald has only one unpleasant memory, and that is when he had to take out his adenoids. All the other days in Norway seen to be like a dream.
Roald’s next school is Repton Public School. Here he spends some years as a fag. The fags are the younger students, and they have to do whatever the boazers (the prefects are called boazers) want them to do. If the fags do not do their duties perfectly, the boazers will thrash them.
The Headmaster at Repton is, like the other Headmasters we hear about, not a kind man. He canes the students, and he is worse than the others. This Headmaster also gives you a lecture in how to behave while caning. What is special about this Headmaster is that he soon becomes Archbishop of Canterbury. Roald thinks that it is strange that the Headmaster preaches about forgiveness and mercy, but he never practices it himself.
The caning is an important part of the book, and still when Roald was a grown-up man, he remembered how the caning was.
After Repton, Roald does not want to start at neither Oxford nor Cambridge, as his mother suggests. He wants to join the Shell Company, and so he does. He gets the chance to travel to South Africa, and there he learns a lot. He is away from home for a long tome, because the war begins.
I really like this book. I think Roald describes all the events vividly. The relationship between Roald and his mother is interesting to read about, and above all the book is entertaining. We also get to know very much about how it was to attend schools when Roald was young.
The many funny events all through the book are the reasons why I will recommend this book to other people, children as well as adults. Roald Dahl is a very good writer, and he also seems to be a nice person.