Book Review: Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl

Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl   Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl by Donald Sturrock
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read James and the Giant Peach seven times when I was in second grade.

I have since read (and re-read) every one of his books for children.

The the very first day I ever read the newspaper, when I was nine I found his obituary.

And I cried. For a long time.

Dahl had a huge impact on my formative reading years, I had every reason to be excited about this new biography.

Donald Sturrock had unparalleled access to Dahl’s letters, private files, and family members for this biography and, boy oh boy, was it thorough. While I loved the detail and access to the life of Roald Dahl, it felt like Sturrock had SO much information, and SUCH a big job given to him, that he couldn’t figure out what information could be left out. After the third or fourth description of nasty letters back and forth between Dahl and his publisher/editor/agent/fill in the blank, I was tired of hearing how difficult Dahl was to work with. Additionally, I found several typos and fragments of thought which went undeveloped.

Long story short: Being a huge Roald Dahl fan, I started reading this bio to get a better picture about an author who influenced me greatly. Even so, I think about 1/4 of this bio could have been cut and we still would have gotten a very fleshed out idea of who he was.

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