The Witches by Roald Dahl

Read  October 2017
Recommended for fans of Roald Dahl
★    ★   

Things that are cool:

  • a cigar-smoking grandma who encourages you to take safe action
  • investigating
  • solving problems
  • witches with accents


Things that are creepy:

  • Having to stay a mouse the rest of your life
  • Feet without toes
  • Pet mice that go missing and are never found
  • A boy who is never reunited by his family, or even mouse-trapped
  • Talking about dying while in bed with your grandmother

Roald Dahl never worked for me as a kid. I distinctly remember picking up James and the Giant Peach and being singularly unimpressed by visuals or story. I gave this one a shot on strength of 1) Halloween spirit, 2) a friend review, and 3) adding to my witch lore. Alas, it was a no-go.

As an adult, there were a couple of parts that made me laugh, but conceptually, there was too much I didn’t care for, and I’m pretty certain the 9 year-old self would have felt similarly, although perhaps for different reasons. Both of us were bothered by the indifference to the fate of the greedy boy who was also turned into a mouse.

As far as reading age, I think it’d be a narrow window. The head witch has an accent, so her extensive dialogue looks like this:

“Silence,” shouted The Grand High Witch, raising her hands. “You know perrrfectly vell you must do nothing to drrraw attention to yourselves vhile you are living in the hotel! Let us by all means get rrrid of this eveil-smelling little sqvirt, but vee must do it as qvietly as possible, for are vee not all of us the most rrree-spectable ladies?”

Tricky for younger readers, and probably silly for older ones.

I’m the odd one out, judging by friends’ fond recollections. That’s okay. I never got into Harriet the Spy either.


About thebookgator

avid reader and Goodreads reviewer looking for a home.
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