Author: Donald Sturrock
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Biography/ Literature
Length: 656 pages
“…Count to three…
Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.
Take a look and you’ll see into your imagination.
We’ll begin with a spin…
Traveling in a world of my creation.
What we’ll see will defy explanation!”
I don’t know anyone who didn’t grow up enthralled with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the movie). I know many who were equally amazed by the books below, though obviously less because after all there aren’t as many book-nerds as there are movie goers.
I dreamed of writing books like these as a child. As an adult, though I am an aspiring novelist with a novella recently published, however, I find myself longing to be a biographer. That’s where the real talent lies.
Donald Sturrock’s Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl is fascinating. You wouldn’t think reading a biography on a man who hated biographies would be so riveting, but it is. I also never expected the man who had such a vivid imagination to have such an involved life. For some reason I usually expect people who imagine much to live little. I am constantly being proven wrong.
When reading the opening pages, I was at first struck with how much I previously didn’t know about Dahl at all. Little things, like his height. I didn’t know that Dahl was so tall, six foot five! Then describe his personality: a witty bit of a curmudgeon… an entertainer, someone always intrigued by the best of things… in those early pages I thought I might fall in love with him! Too bad he was married, would be far too old if he were living, and by the way is also dead.
Further into the biography, the magic wears off as he becomes more and more a real person. Everyone has flaws. I find his attachment to celebrity and his name-dropping a huge turn off as a human, but I still adore him. However, rather than continue to adore Dahl the way I did from the start of the book, I find myself completely compelled to discover more about this biographer.
The life of researchers ever pique my interest. I am an amateur. I read and read and read, take notes, and then hop and skip over to a new topic. I rarely develop ideas as thoroughly as I should, and though I never become bored with a topic I quite frequently find myself distracted by the shiny newness of others. A biographer – a good biographer – can’t be so willy-nilly. I respect that. I am envious of that.
In regards to Roald Dahl, all I can say is that you should read Sturrock’s biography. I don’t like giving away spoilers, but I think the year 2014 will be full of Dahl titles, both because I am newly inspired to read them and my kiddo is ready to hear me read the children’s titles aloud, I think.
Dahl died November 23, 1990. In honor of his Death-aversary, Good Books in the Woods held a chocolate tasting (compliments of Schaokolad in The Woodlands). One of the patrons had actually met Dahl in person before his death so the discussion, as all discussion at Good Books, was exciting and rather involved.