Roald Dahl

1 Dec

How many of you have read books such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach” as a kid? Now, how many of you know who the author is of these books or have given much thought towards him? Today, I am here to inform you about the author of the above books, Roald Dahl. Although all parts of his life are vital pieces of information, today I am here to inform you about his working life and his family life.

At age twenty-three, he joined he Royal Air Force. During his time serving for his country he was a fighter pilot. When he was in active duty, he fought in World War II. Unfortunately, he faced several life threatening situations and eventually would be sent home an invalid. He would then transfer to Washington to continue his duty. Here he met a writer that would change his life.

After having lunch with American author C.S. Forester, Roald discovered that he was a writer. Forester was working for the Saturday Evening Post and asked Roald if he could write up a brief summary on the way he felt about the British War so he could type up an article for the paper. Upon receiving Roald’s write up, Forester replied, “Did you know you were a writer, I haven’t changed a word” Along with the reply, a check was enclosed from the Post for $900. He continued writing for the Post and magazines. His material consisted of adult short stories. In 1948, he published his first novel which was unsuccessful. He then published two collections of short stories and was noted a talented writer.

Next, let’s talk about Roald Dahl’s family life. In 1953, he married his first wife Patricia Neal, an actress. Roald and Patricia had five kids together: Olivia, Theo, Tessa, Ophelia and Lucy. Patricia suffered from a series of strokes in 1965. Roald himself helped get her on the road to recovery by having neighbors and friends develop a speech therapy program that amounted to six hour sessions a day. While the National Health Service only offered two half-hour sessions per week. Due to her husband’s hard work and dedication, she made a full recovery.

Cover of "George's Marvellous Medicine"

Cover of George’s Marvellous Medicine

After his divorce from Patricia, he married his second wife, Felicity Crosland in 1983. They had grown up on the same street in Llandaff, but did not meet until 1972. Along with his first wife’s tragedy, two out of his five kids suffered from brain injuries. In his honor, Felicity founded the Roald Dahl Foundation shortly after his death.

His creativity that inspired his children books came from the bedtime tales he told his own children. “Had I not had children,” Roald remarked, “I would not have written books for children, nor would I have been capable of doing so.” Some of his most famous children books include: “James and the Giant Peach,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Danny the Champion of the World,” “George’s Marvelous Medicine,” “The BFG” and “The Witches.”

Today Patricia and Felicity are friends and have a large extended family.

I hope I have encouraged you to take a trip down memory lane and read if you haven’t already Mr. Dahl’s adventurous children books. Much of an author’s life can be seen through their style of writing. Through his work and family he found his creativity leading to him writing those unforgettable tales that we know and love. I would like to leave you with a quote from this beloved author, “An autobiography is a book a person writes about his own life and it is usually full of all sorts of boring details.”


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