If you've been reading recent posts, you may have noticed a proliferation of Roald Dahl books. Not my usual stuff, but I was inspired to read some of his books, in a kind of "Dahlathon" of my own. Today is official Roald Dahl Day, and there are celebratory events happening all over. Of course, with me being in the US, and the events being in the UK, I'm not going to any of those events (actually, I'm also working this evening, so that would count me out, as well).
However, I didn't want to let the day go by without at least a little mention. That being said, I'm posting a little review here of one of his books: Switch Bitch. The review is going to be little for a few reasons. First, it's a book of four short stories, so it's a small-ish book. Second, I wasn't that big on the book, so I actually don't have a lot to say.
PLEASE NOTE BEFORE PROCEEDING: This book of stories is not for younger readers. It is "Four stories by the inimitable master of seduction and suspense - each with a razor-sharp sting in the tail..." (taken from GoodReads). They center around a salacious main character, and focus on sex. If you're still interested in what I thought of the book, read on. If not, that's ok -- I completely understand if this isn't your thing. Stay tuned for more Dahl soon, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Here's what I thought about this book: While I read Roald Dahl's stories as a child, I did not encounter his stories for adults until I was close to 20 (I'm still not to 40 yet). However, from what I knew of Dahl, I expected they would be different from what I had read in stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach. And yes, I was correct in this -- the only thing that the four stories in this book, and some of his books for younger readers, is the somewhat acerbic wit that Dahl seems to have. While his somewhat wicked sense of humor is quite present in the children's books, in these four stories, he takes that to a different level here. There's still that sense of humor, but since the subject is sex, it sometimes takes on a somewhat sinister tone.
One of the primary characters we encounter is Uncle Oswald, whose diaries have been entrusted to a family member. In those diaries he describes some of his adventures. He's really not a very likeable character; he's rude, and crude, and kind of ....slimy. In fact, if you look at my previous post on James and the Giant Peach, there's a quote there about the Earthworm being "a slimy beast." The Earthworm is not. Uncle Oswald is. At any rate --- the very first story in the book, The Visitor, has a very interesting ending, which I won't spoil for you here. However, suffice to say, there's a bit of a horror twist to what happens.
This is a good example of the four stories in this book. They are somewhat amusing, in a dark sort of way, and they're disturbing --- but they are well-written. Say what you like about the subject material; Dahl writes just as richly as always. It's a little hard to know if these stories are supposed to give a kind of morality warning, or are supposed to be somewhat sexy horror. I'm not sure, but either way, I didn't really love this book. I've got a book of Dahl's ghost stories, and have enjoyed those far more.
For even more opinions, please click the GoodReads link ---there are wide and varied opinions from other readers about this book. Just because I didn't like this one as much doesn't mean other readers won't enjoy it. However --- if all you know of Dahl is his books for children ..... maybe think twice about picking this one up.
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