The delightful Mr Dahl

A couple of weeks ago I shared my favourite quotes by the late Gabriel García Márquez, and I enjoyed it so much I’ve decided to make this a regular feature – at least until I run out of authors, which isn’t likely to happen any time soon.

I’m starting with Roald Dahl, who was my absolute favourite author growing up. In fact, he’s probably one of the reasons I’m such a book lover today. Even though when you stop and think about it, his stories are genuinely disturbing, with characters meeting horrific fates like being eaten by a rhinoceros (James and the Giant Peach), gobbled by giants (The BFG), or turned into a blueberry (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). It’s a miracle I grew up to be the well-adjusted, sane adult that I am. Ahem. Moving on.

Like the best children’s fiction, Roald Dahl’s books aren’t just for kids. Of course I don’t still believe that whipped cream is made with whips, or that you can really poach a whole forest full of pheasants using sleeping tablets. (And, more importantly, get away with it.) But there’s a lot of important lessons in there for adults too, which are easier to spot when you’re not quite so distracted by the story. Like this exchange from The BFG, for example:

“‘I is not understanding human beans at all,’ the BFG said. ‘You is a human bean and you is saying it is grizzling and horrigust for giants to be eating human beans. Right or left?’

‘Right,’ Sophie said.

‘But human beans is squishing each other all the time,’ the BFG said. ‘They is shootling guns and going up in
aerioplanes to drop their bombs on each other’s heads every week. Human beans is always killing other human beans.’

He was right. Of course he was right and Sophie knew it. She was beginning to wonder whether humans were actually any better than giants.”

I love The BFG. And if Steven Spielberg ruins one of my favourite books in his new movie version, I’ll be having words. (Not necessarily with him, obviously – but my friends and family should be prepared for some rants.)

So, here are some other words of wisdom from Mr Dahl. Enjoy 🙂

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

“A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.” Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

“If you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” The Twits

“Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.”

“A life is made up of a great number of small incidents and a small number of great ones.” Going Solo

“There are a whole lot of things in this world of ours you haven’t started wondering about yet.” James and the Giant Peach

“Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable.” Matilda

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.” The Witches (bit cheesy, maybe, but I like it!)

“I cannot be right all the time. Quite often I is left instead of right.” The BFG

“So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall.”

And now I’m off to read Revolting Rhymes and give myself nightmares. Sleep well, everyone!

Revolting Rhymes, Roald Dahl


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