Thursday, October 7th, 2010
The first memoir I remember reading was Roald Dahl’s Boy: Tales of Childhood. As a girl in Los Angeles in the early nineties, I was not particularly interested in the life of Dahl as a boy living in Britain in the twenties, but I had decided that I had to read every Roald Dahl book in the school library, Boy being one in the bunch that I dutifully read.
Jessica Freeman-Slade writes in her review of Donald Sturrock’s Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl, “As a child, I closed each Dahl book marveling, ‘Yes, that was exactly what I wanted to read.’ How did he know children’s tastes so well?” Yes. My insistence to read the entire works of my favorite childhood author led me to Boy and gave me a glimpse into the mind who knew my juvenile, pre-pubescent tastes so well. And to my surprise, I might credit Boy with my interest in the back-story, the personal and psychological underpinnings to, told personally, people’s work.