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More About Boy by Roald Dahl

From the world's number one story teller, More About Boy is a delightful collection of Roald (pronounced Roo-arl) Dahl's childhood tales. This book differs from About Boy as it contains more amusing info & never seen before pictures.

Interestingly, the books starts with the story of his father and uncle instead of Dahl's birth. However as you read the chapter, you realise that Dahl's life was compelling even before it began! Harald Dahl (Roald's father) was not only a successful man but was also a brilliant person who overcame life's struggles and was a "tremendous diary writer". All these undoubtedly contributed to Roald's success as a writer.

The second chapter is very short as Roald couldn't recollect much about his early years at school but somehow it doesn't matter at all. The following chapters are very funny and introduce you to people who influenced the characters Roald conjured. For instance, "Mrs Trunchbull" in Matilda was inspired by a matron in his school who was heavy-bossomed, mean and hated little children! And if it were not for Roald's love for candy and his frequent visits to a candy shop as a child, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would have been a completely different story! Though many people in Roald's life did not influence the characters in his books, they did have an affect on Roald and also his writing in some way. For instance, the name "Willy Wonka" was derived from "Skilly Wonka", a boomerang Roald's uncle had invented. My favourite is Thwaites, Roald's know-it-all childhood friend who explained that liquorice was made from mice stew!

Perhaps the person who had the most influence on Roald and his writing was his mother. She single-handedly raised Roald and his siblings after her husband's death and how she kept all of Roald's letters from when he was a little boy until he reached adulthood was very touching.

Besides the story, the book is peppered with photos, some taken by Roald himself, short essays he had written when he was young, and interesting tidbits on "Boy"- Roald's nickname. Imagine that at the age of twenty, Roald, thanks to his passion for anything sweet, was already wearing dentures! Too bad because he was quite a good looking fellow! This book also gives you a glimpse of what life was like in the olden days when there was no novacaine or driving tests!

This book deserves five stars! Now wouldn't it be nice if we could all turn our childhood experience into well-loved stories?

- Reviewed by Haryati Abd Gafur

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