Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl [NF]

Sturrock, Donald

  17 Reviews

Roald Dahl's life is not unlike the stories he has gifted to the world of children's literature: extraordinary and verging on the unbelievable. In this comprehensive biography, Donald Sturrock presents Dahl's fascinating life, from fighter pilot to spy, from creative genius to devoted family man and mercurial friend. Widely researched and meticulously referenced, it is a highly readable book revealing a flawed but larger-than -life character: a storyteller extraordinaire. [Big read, small font]

Comments from Groups

An interesting read. While admiring his talent he had less admirable characteristics. Christchurch 040

Although the book needed some serious editing, we were really interested in Dahl's life and had a good discussion. Wellington 021

All of us did not expect to finish this large book, but we did and had a lively discussion.... his incredibly productive mind that turned out so many, often strange and even slight sadistic tales.

What a well referenced biography. Too much for some but very rewarding for others. Nelson 040

Such potential, but a disappointment. Only 2 members finished it. Too much detail and not a "page turner". New Plymouth 14



TAUR 061
Despite the fact only one had finished the book there was an acceptance that Sturrock was an detailed biographer who must be credited for his depth of research and narrative style. There was a heaviness reading the book; we fell out of love with Dahl. He wasnt the man we had in our heads. Despite this there was no doubt he rose to challenges and it was in these spaces we saw him as a better man. There is no doubt, he was a man shaped by his experiences; a man who was complex, arrogant and yet, through his writing touched and enriched the lives of so many.
A 'big' book which no-one finished but all enjoyed what they read about this brilliant but difficult man. Some a bit disillusioned after discovering that aspects of 'Boy' were incorrect. Good discussion but all felt the book was too detailed.
RICH 010
Most of us enjoyed the book and felt the author had done a very fair and balanced job, but we were slightly overwhelmed with the depth of detail. We felt that the amount of detail about the problems of publishing and Roald's personality was daunting, and not all our group managed to finish the book. I had to set myself a daily total of 30 pages and only just completed it despite being retired. The rest of my group are younger and lead extremely busy lives. What a character though!
CHCH 468
Overall, a heavy read. A good reference book - one that you pick up from time to time. His life was an incredibly interesting one - an amazing, generous man who left a wonderful legacy.
AUCK 272
Personally I enjoyed it and found it interesting. Not many people read the whole thing ( a few skim read), so not much of a discussion. Beginning a bit too detailed and boring, but the end was excellent.
This book certainly encouraged passionate discussion! Mr Dahl wasn't exactly flavour of the month, but also people felt the biographer had overdone it a bit on the minutely detailed references. We couldn't reach a consensus on why children were so enchanted with the stories and adults a bit shocked!
PICT 002
Most of the group found that, although the book content was interesting, it needed a good editor to reduce the "padding".
CHCH 176
Well-written. Difficult man to live with. Excellent writer. Good discussion today.
AKAR 002
Painstaking research made this heavy going at times, although interesting. Huge size of book and small print daunting for some.
CHCH 099
Our group scored the Dahl biography 7 out of 10, however some didn't finish it or read all of it. The book generated keen discussion. We felt: the author was infatuated with detail; the book could have done with a re-edit job; Dahl himself was flawed, controversial, and not greatly admired as a man. We did concede wholeheartedly that Sturrock did fulfil the step-daughter's wish for him "to make Dahl come alive" in the book.
AUCK 277
We all felt the book was over detailed and overwritten - but in spite of that we had plenty to talk about!!!
The length of the book was a challenge for many. Perhaps a two month period needed for reading An engrossing read about a complex and talented man. The details and in depth analysis of Dahl made a truly superb book.
Mixed opinions. Some loved it, others didn't. General consensus was that it was not an easy read. Quite disjointed. The group felt Roald was a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde personality. Some of the group hadn't read any of his books and will now do so.
AUCK 009
Those of us who read it enjoyed it and found it beautifully written, if a little over-indulgent ( did he have to throw in EVERY detail he had learned). But we got to know Dahl. However, the majority did not finish it and said it was too long and too detailed. The historical context as well as Dahl's life make it an absorbing read.
A very lively discussion with many viewpoints.
Few members read the entire book but all enjoyed the parts they read. Very readable but could have been condensed to half the length.
WELL 134
Some found this book too long and scanned rather than read it thoroughly. The complexities of Roald Dahl's character made him hard to like , but there were redeeming features such as his care of his family and his writing, particularly his childrens' books. We liked Donald Sturroch's approach to the biography, and how he blended research with personal commentary from Dahl's family; and thought he had given joint weight to all the aspects of Dahl's life.