Today would have been Roald Dahl’s 96th birthday. The British author and poet sadly died in 1990 and to mark his amazing body of work for children and adults, on his birthday every year National Roald Dahl Day is celebrated.
His books were something I read over and over as a child (and should probably take the blame for my sometimes twisted sense of humour). I know they taught me a lot; Roald Dahl truly supplied the life lessons that our generation lives by. I hope that the next generations’ will get the same from his work.
There are some deep themes to his children’s books. The BFG (that’s Big Friendly Giant to those who don’t know) is a guy who comes and takes a little girl named Sophie, to Giant Land. Of course, he explains to her that he is benevolent and distributes happy dreams, but seriously?! This dude comes to your house and takes you to Giant Land and you aren’t scared? No way. This story used to leave me scared to sleep… but I never let a stranger in my bedroom after that.
Throughout these deep issues of abandonment, in James and the Giant Peach, and parental abuse, in Matilda there are lessons for us to keep.
“My dear young fellow,' the Old-Green-Grasshopper said gently, 'there are a whole lot of things in this world of ours you haven't started wondering about yet.”
If Roald Dahl taught me anything, it was to keep wondering. Be the bright-eyed child in every situation. It’s necessary in order to continue being amazed. Roald Dahl taught me the importance of being stunned. Let the world take your breath away, and you will enjoy your life. I feel like this is the lesson that Roald Dahl himself whispers to you as you turn every page, urging you to go out into the world… as he has said, “You should never, never doubt something that no one is sure of.”
“These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message, 'You are not alone.'"
This is a quote that I used to repeat over and over to myself as a child. “You are not alone, you are not alone.” As an only child, realising the amazing presence that books could have in my life was vital to my happiness. How would I have gotten through all those lonely summer holidays without them? Even now, whenever I’m feeling lonely, I don’t reach for the chick-flick, I typically reach for the bookshelf. But it has been a while since I’ve read Matilda…
“If you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely."
My favourite life lesson from Mr. Dahl is from The Twits, the scariest of his books for me as a kid. Not so scary anymore. The Twits were negative people, who had negative thoughts and although they were once young and attractive, as these thoughts continued their faces became contorted with their thoughts. This lesson does not need explaining. Be happy, people, and that happiness will show on your face, and you will be beautiful.
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.”