Thursday, July 14, 2005

Thursday book blogging: Fascinated with Dahl

New Yorker’s article by Talbot is subtitled, 'why kids love Dahl and many adults don’t', and is a catchy theme though not convincing in my read. The article was no doubt commissioned to catch the marketing wave generated by the new movie.

But I'm quite biased. I have been entranced with Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ever since my second-grade teacher read it to us out loud, and after all these years, I still relish reading Dahl’s books. Imagine my delight when I recently came upon the deliciously subversive children’s book, The BFG, read with glee to our seven year old.

Talbot makes a quick attempt to explain Dahl, something I’ve wondered about myself, as she delves a bit into Dahl’s childhood. This is key because Dahl seemed to know the pre-adolescent world well. The fascination with the dark side, giants and witches, as well as with naughty children and nasty adults, is properly child-centric as well as revealing about Dahl’s sensibilities.

Talbot ends with this: "Dahl’s purse-lipped critics fail to recognize that his stories don’t merely indulge a child’s fantasies—they replenish them". Damn straight, especially since I think TV robs them of those fantasies, a sentiment I share with Dahl, but I think that is topic for another rant.