Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The BFG - Roald Dahl

First published 1982; cover shown is the 1984 Puffin Books (UK) paperback edition. 208p. Cover and illustrations by Quentin Blake.

Horrific serial killings. Grotesque monsters with names like Bonecruncher, Childchewer, Fleshlumpeater and Gizzardgulper. A self-educated giant who wears a leather vest and catches dreams. A nationwide giant-hunt. And one sweet little orphan named Sophie.

The BFG was one of my favourite books as a child - I must have read it a dozen times. It was deliciously gross, wickedly funny and never, ever boring.

The story of how one small girl changes the life of the sole good giant in the world, The BFG is a comedy, a crime novel, a drama and a full-on adventure thriller. The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) never went to school, but in his hundreds of years of solitary life he's learnt much, and Sophie makes him realise just how fabulous he is.

Dahl's original concept of the Dream Country, where the BFG captures dreams to deliver to children, is my favourite element in the book. And the final, dramatic capture of the nine man-eating giants - involving the Queen of England, the Royal Army and the Royal Air Force - was still exciting to read about, almost 20 years after first discovering Roald Dahl.

Other highly recommended children's/young adult fiction by Roald Dahl: Matilda, The Twits and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And for adults: Roald Dahl's Collected Short Stories and the slightly risque Uncle Oswald stories.

No comments: