Roald Dahl is one of my favorite writers, so I was really looking forward to reading this biography. I enjoyed it particularly because Donald Sturrock knew Dahl and his family personally, and was able to conduct many interviews with his surviving family members in addition to having access to many archival materials. There’s a wealth of information about Dahl’s life, and a few insights into how his life shaped his work. Dahl is revealed as a complex man with just as many flaws as wonderful attributes.
Sturrock brings out Dahl’s normality and humanity, which I think is what I most enjoyed about this book. Roald Dahl was *the* writer of my childhood–I felt that he was my personal Storyteller (as, I’m sure, millions of children did and continue to do). He had a gift for reaching and understanding children, and, as Sturrock remarks, would probably be thrilled about the respect that children’s literature gets today, as well as how well his own books are regarded.
Sturrock spends a lot of time focusing on Dahl’s life in the United States during World War II–rightly so, as it was quite fascinating! Jennet Conant’s The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington might be worth checking out if you’d like to learn more. If it’s been a while since you’ve read Dahl’s work, and you’d like a refresher, there’s the wonderful Roald Dahl Treasury with pieces from his children’s books, as well as the collection The Best of Roald Dahl: Stories from Over to You, Someone Like You, Kiss Kiss, and Switch Bitch which contains some of his writing for adults.