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Love from Boy: Roald Dahl's Letters to his Mother

Donald Sturrock

5 Reviews

Rated 0

Biography: general, Diaries, letters & journals, Prose: non-fiction

A revelatory collection of letters from the nation's favourite storyteller.

'Dear Mama,
I am having a lovely time here. We play football every day here. The beds have no springs . . .'

So begins the first letter that a nine-year-old Roald Dahl penned to his mother, Sofie Magdalene, under the watchful eye of his boarding-school headmaster. For most of his life, Roald Dahl would continue to write weekly letters to his mother, chronicling his adventures, frustrations and opinions, from the delights of childhood to the excitements of flying as a World War II fighter pilot and the thrill of meeting top politicians and movie stars during his time as a diplomat and spy in Washington. And, unbeknown to Roald, his mother lovingly kept every single one of them.

Sofie was, in many ways, Roald's first reader. It was she who encouraged him to tell stories and nourished his desire to fabricate, exaggerate and entertain. Reading these letters, you can see Roald practicing his craft, developing the dark sense of humour and fantastical imagination that would later produce such timeless tales as THE BFG, MATILDA, FANTASTIC MR FOX and THE WITCHES.

The letters in LOVE FROM BOY are littered with jokes and madcap observations; sometimes serious, sometimes tender, and often outrageous. To eavesdrop on a son's letters to his mother is to witness Roald Dahl turning from a boy to a man, and finally becoming a writer.

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Praise for Love from Boy: Roald Dahl's Letters to his Mother

  • Love From Boy, in all its cunning unreliability, becomes more fascinating the more you think about it. It is a work of showmanship, written for someone to whom the author would always be a child. As the backdrop to one of the world's greatest children's writers, it's so wonderfully complicated you'd have thought even Dahl couldn't have made it up. Except that he did - Daily Telegraph

  • Sturrock's carefully chosen letters, complemented by a judicious selection of biographical and photographic material, testify to a bond between mother and son that is unbreakable, even in the face of boarding school, war and sexual jokes about Hitler - The Times, Book of the Week

  • Sturrock is right to claim that the letters to his mother show, in embryo, essential features of Dahl's art, such as his fantastical imagination and his sadistic sense of humour - Sunday Times

  • The Dahl sense of thrill, mischief, and storytelling is ever present in these missives, even in the most trying of times. But what is most refreshing is a famous, busy, peripatetic son devoting so much time to staying in touch with 'Mama'. This alone makes him a national treasure - Psychologies

  • It is in Roald Dahl's childhood correspondence that we see charming glimpses of his future subjects - FT

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