One of my favorite authors of all time is Roald Dahl. Most people probably know him more as the author of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (yes, it was a book before the movie was made) but I think he’s more than just the genius mind before the quirky character.
Roald Dahl’s imaginary world is so quirky, weird, and delightful… yet, it is not so far off reality than you’d think.
Every story he wrote, every book he penned are somehow based on the reality of our humanity.
Look at Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, for example. Aside from those incorrigible children, Willy Wonka himself is a complex character that sadly is a product of bad parenting and childhood resentment. Something that most people today are struggling with.
In fact, out of all the characters in the book, Charlie is probably the most “unrealistic” character. We live in a society full of brats, and a child like Charlie is a little hard to find. They still exist, but they’re not that many.
But anyway, I actually don’t want to talk about Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. I want to talk about his other book, The Umbrella Man and Other Stories, that’s dubbed as: “thirteen tales of horror and hilarity from the master storyteller”. This short story compilation is written for adults, since the themes of the thirteen stories are pretty shocking, bizarre and ironic: from a man who loves to collect little fingers by winning them from a bet to a couple of struggling young men who came up with the ingenious idea of creating a company specializing in revenge.
The title story “The Umbrella Man” itself is a witty tale that will guarantee to put a smile (or at least a smirk) on your face.
And yet, with each bizarre story, you understand the moral values that he was trying to put across. But even after understanding the moral values, you don’t feel like he’s trying to be the moral center of the universe. Roald Dahl basically just took the basic human nature, and wrote his own version of social commentary, that is neither judgmental nor preachy.
Best of all, the stories are so damn entertaining that you actually feel a tinge of disappointment when you close the book, not because it’s not good enough, but because you wish there were more stories to read…
I recommend reading this book during one of those lazy rainy afternoon, with a steaming cup of coffee as companion. I guarantee you’ll love it as much as I, and many million others, do.
Enjoy your weekend.