"'I am only eight years old,' I told myself. 'No little boy of eight has ever murdered anyone. It's not possible.'"
So thought Roald Dahl in 1924 when his plan to get revenge on the mean and disgusting candy-store owner Mrs. Pratchett seemed to have worked all too well. Writing about this and other boyhood adventures, the author has recalled only those that stand out as spectacular. "Some are funny. Some are painful. Some are unpleasant. I suppose that is why I have always remembered them so vividly. All are true."
We are told of his first automobile ride, in which he nearly lost his nose; of the canings by Headmasters and older schoolboys; and of the grisly methods of Matrons, those guardians against misbehavior who supervised the dormitories. There were glorious times, too, with his big family at home in Wales; on holiday each summer on a remote island in Norway; and in the class of an endearing math teacher who thought numbers the dreariest things in the world.
Roald Dahl's adventures and misadventures during his school years are crowded with people as strange and wonderful as any character he has created and are as exciting and full of the unexpected as his celebrated fiction.