From the author of The BFG—soon to be a major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Bill Hader, and Adam Godley—a whimsical, witty, and revealing collection of the legendary children’s author and writer Roald Dahl's letters written to his mother, from early childhood through Dahl’s travels to Africa, his career in the Royal Air Force, his work in post-war Washington, D.C., and Hollywood, and the books that made him a literary star.
Roald Dahl penned his first letter to his mother, Sofie Magdalene, when he was just nine years old. The origins of a brilliantly funny, subversive, creative mind were evident in boarding school, and as he entered adulthood, his penchant for storytelling emerged in his missives home from Africa, where he was stationed by Shell Oil, and then the desert camps of the Royal Air Force. His skills were sharpened after a plane crash in Egypt landed him in Washington, D.C., where his cheery letters home were cover for his work in the British Secret Service, along with gossipy updates on his spontaneous rise in Hollywood and his budding New York literary career.
His mother was, in many ways, Dahl’s first reader, and without her correspondence he might never have become a writer. Sofie Magdalene kept every letter her son wrote to her (sadly, her own side of the correspondence did not survive). It was she who encouraged him to tell stories and nourished his desire to fabricate, exaggerate, and entertain. In these letters, Dahl began practicing his craft, developing the dark sense of humor and fantastical imagination that would later produce his timeless tales. The author of James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and The BFG, Dahl is known by millions the world over today. But, writing candidly to the person who knew him best, Dahl was as singular a character as any he created on paper. Assembled by Dahl’s authorized biographer Donald Sturrock, Love from Boy is a remarkable collection of never-before-published writing that spans four decades and chronicles the remarkable, unpredictable life of its author. While Dahl’s books remain bestselling favorites for all ages, Love from Boy provides an unprecedented glimpse of the author through his own eyes—a life punctuated by tragedy, creative stagnation, unexpected fame, and fantastic adventure.
From the Hardcover edition.
Roald Dahl's transition from young schoolboy to prolific writer is perfectly captured in this delightful collection of letters edited by his authorized biographer, Sturrock (Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl). Each chapter covers one to four years, adding up to four decades. Most of the letters are written to Dahl's mother, though some are to his sisters, and there's a particularly poignant missive addressed to the widow of the RAF pilot who helped comfort Dahl after the writer's plane crashed in the Libyan Desert during WWII. These letters allow the reader to watch Dahl grow up, and clarify how his life influenced his books. For example, his time at boarding school gave vivid life to Matilda, and his aviation experiences provided inspiration for James and the Giant Peach and The Minpins. But with typical British stoicism, he never expresses complaint or worry to his mother. It is not until she is 80 that he is able to convey candor and seek solace, relating the horrific experience of his first wife's stroke and subsequent recovery. Coinciding with what would have been Dahl's 100th birthday, this collection will delight fans of his fanciful books.