Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl

Boy: Tales of ChildhoodSummary: Roald Dahl’s autobiography of his childhood written for children.

As you can imagine, I spend a good bit of money on books.  I saw an estimate that the average household only buys 1 to 2 books a year.  And that nearly half of the book purchases are from about 5 percent of readers.  If that is actually true, I would not be surprised if I am in the top 1 percent.

I try to read books that I pick up free on kindle.  And I often listen to the monthly free audiobook from  And I do get some free books to review.  However, I pay full price for most books I review and that gets expensive.

My regular source of free books is my local library.  I almost never go and check out a book in person.  I mostly avoid paper books.  But I do check out audiobooks via the Overdrive system from my local library.  The main problem with Overdrive in my area is that everything is always checked out.  So I often will go for weeks and get nothing.  This week I had three of my holds come up all the same day.

Boy by Roald Dahl was a bit of a whim book.  I know it is a bit of anathema for many children’s book lovers, but I have not read much by him.  Boy is a autobiography oriented toward elementary students.  Growing up I read a lot of biographies.

When I moved from Ohio to Pennsylvania in second grade I was told that I was not allow to check out books at school from the older kids section, but only the little kids section.  I remember being offended by this.  So I went to our very small town library (2 doors down from our house) and started working through their books.  The Childhood of Famous Americans was my series of choice.  I probably read about 200 of this series.  They were pretty lousy as biographies.  They were fictionalized stories of the famous people and then about the last 10 percent of the book was a short section on why they were famous.  But I enjoyed them and I actually did very well in US history after that because I had a good idea the rough history of the US from those biographies.

Boy feels somewhat similar, except is it a first person narrative.  Dahl is telling us about his childhood.  The best stories are of his time at boarding school.  Pretty much all the autobiographical narratives about English boarding schools are horrible.  It must have been such a different world to have gone away to boarding school, with often little or poor food and creepy, ill mannered adults responsible for taking care of you.

As an adult I did not think this book was great.  But I think it probably would be interesting for a late elementary student that really likes Roald Dahl books.  It is written at the same reading level as most of his books.  I listened to it on audiobook, but Audible does not have a copy of it.

Boy by Roald Dahl Purchase Links: Paperback, Audioook


I haven’t read this as an adult, but I remember loving my copy as a kid. It’s in a box somewhere now…

    I keep hearing that from others that read this as a child. I think I was just a bit to old to read it the first time.

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