Thursday, June 16, 2016

James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach. Roald Dahl. Illustrated by Quentin Blake. 1961. 146 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Here is James Henry Trotter when he was about four years old.

Premise/plot: James, our hero-orphan being raised by two horrid aunts (one horribly fat, one terribly skinny), finds his fortune changing quickly one day when he meets a complete stranger--an older man--who promises to show him something wonderful and then pulls something out of his pocket...a small white paper bag filled with tiny green almost-glowing things. He's given instructions on how to use these green things to have a super-wonderful life. But. On his way home, he trips and the green things are lost...on the ground....but that is not the end. The title should give away the rest.

My thoughts: This one was weird and silly and unexpected and unique. I didn't hate it certainly. It is very Dahl. But I didn't love it. I find Dahl's lack of characterization annoying in some ways because instead of characterization we don't get more action or more adventure, we just get cruelty. Cruelty seems to be one thing all Dahl books have in common.
Aunt Sponge was enormously fat and very short. She had small piggy eyes, a sunken mouth, and one of those white flabby faces that looked exactly as though it had been boiled. She was like a great white soggy overboiled cabbage. (6)
I liked this one better once James enters the giant peach and meets all the insects who have been effected by the mystery green things.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
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  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
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  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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