Friday, October 24, 2014

Danny the Champion of the World

Written by: Roald Dahl

First line: When I was four months old, my mother died suddenly and my father was left to look after me all by himself.

Why you should read this book: In some ways, it's Dahl's deepest, most complex and nuanced book for young readers, and while it is basically devoid of the fantastic magic and nonsense seen as the hallmark of his children's stories, it holds a powerful naturalistic magic, expressed in a boy's love for his father and his father's love of the boy and the natural world. At the age of nine, Danny learns that his father's one manic passion in life is poaching pheasants from the woods of their horrible neighbor, a villain with no redeeming qualities who is rude to children, kicks dogs, sucks up to rich people who also hate him, and otherwise deserves to be robbed; and Danny, who adores his father, is eager to help him embarrass this reprobate. It's a quiet story that builds up a powerful head of steam as it goes, roaring toward a satisfying conclusion that mingles wonder and loss with the perfect bond of familial love.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You're a one percenter who voraciously devours the scribblings of Ayn Rand and feels that money justifies any rotten behavior.

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