“James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Fantasy
Summary from Goodreads:
When poor James Henry Trotter loses his parents in a horrible rhinoceros accident, he is forced to live with his two wicked aunts, Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. After three years he becomes “the saddest and loneliest boy you could find.” Then one day, a wizened old man in a dark-green suit gives James a bag of magic crystals that promise to reverse his misery forever. When James accidentally spills the crystals on his aunts’ withered peach tree, he sets the adventure in motion. From the old tree a single peach grows, and grows, and grows some more, until finally James climbs inside the giant fruit and rolls away from his despicable aunts to a whole new life. James befriends an assortment of hilarious characters, including Grasshopper, Earthworm, Miss Spider, and Centipede–each with his or her own song to sing. Roald Dahl’s rich imagery and amusing characters ensure that parents will not tire of reading this classic aloud, which they will no doubt be called to do over and over again!
Confession time. I’ve been really apprehensive about reading this book for quite a while. I always enjoyed Dahl’s books as a kid but this one I stayed away from. The problem was the movie. I was fairly young when it came out and for whatever reason it really scared me. Maybe it was the style of animation? Tim Burton’s touch was maybe a bit too much for a 7 year old? I don’t know but it freaked me out. It freaked me out enough for it to remain with me until I was old enough to not be scared of it any more. By extension, I guess I was scared of the book as well. Since I now owned the book, I guess it was time to get over my ‘fear.’
The book was okay. I didn’t hate it but it certainly didn’t wow or amaze me either. I get that horrible adults are Dahl’s “thing” but it’s starting to feel like a crutch. Why can’t we have a occasional ‘good’ adult? I kind of found the story to be a bit boring. I wasn’t glued to the book which was why it took me a lot longer to finish the book than it should have. To me, it didn’t have the magic or lovableness of Dahl’s other books.
I didn’t really like the characters. I’ve said it before but to me bugs aren’t very unlikable.You need to wow the pants off of me to make me love them. Dahl unfortunately wasn’t able to make me the love the characters. The Centipede constantly whining about his shoes was beyond annoying. I kind of wanted them to throw him overboard. And the singing? I didn’t like it. It was way too frequent for my taste and to be honest I skipped over most of it.
The bottom line? Perhaps the idea of the movie left a bad taste in my mouth but I wasn’t too wild about this book.
This book was read as a part of my Roald Dahl Challenge.
Feel free to join in!