A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Roald Dahl's writing is, as always, unsentimental and often comic, but the story shows him being relieved of his innocence and forced into a world where mothers have no place.
Positive Role Models
Dahl's autobiographical look at his experiences in school show him to be a worthy role model.
Violence & Scariness
Dahl describes several canings; his depiction of the use of violence in school may shock readers. Dahl's doctor visits are nearly as frightening as the canings, as he describes not-so-minor surgery like removal of adenoids done without anesthetic. The s
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this well-written book is most entertaining when author Roald Dahl sustains one adventure (like the mouse-and-sweetshop caper). But while Dahl's drawings are lively and add a lot to the action, the photographs and letters he provides are less successful. The text includes graphic depictions of teachers beating students with wooden canes, which could upset younger readers.
Is It Any Good?
Because Dahl tells repeatedly of the cruelty of schoolmasters who constantly refined their caning techniques on him, some children will be saddened, and others enraged, by the unfairness of it all. These scenes clearly show the child's vulnerability in an adult world. But, unlike in most novels -- such as Dahl's own -- in this true story, the abusers never get their comeuppance. These are not reasons for children to avoid BOY, however; they may, in fact, be reasons children will respond to the book, which promotes the values of honest courage and determination. It also has lighter descriptions of teachers, such as the eccentric old bachelor, Corkers.
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Our Editors Recommend
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