Donald Sturrock - Love from Boy - Hodder & Stoughton

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Paperback £9.99
    More information
    • ISBN:9781444786286
    • Publication date:02 Mar 2017
  • Downloadable audio file £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781473631403
    • Publication date:02 Jun 2016

Love from Boy

Roald Dahl's Letters to his Mother

By Donald Sturrock

  • E-Book
  • £P.O.R.

A revelatory collection of letters from the nation's favourite storyteller.

'Dear Mama,
I am having a lovely time here. We play football every day here. The beds have no springs . . .'

So begins the first letter that a nine-year-old Roald Dahl penned to his mother, Sofie Magdalene, under the watchful eye of his boarding-school headmaster. For most of his life, Roald Dahl would continue to write weekly letters to his mother, chronicling his adventures, frustrations and opinions, from the delights of childhood to the excitements of flying as a World War II fighter pilot and the thrill of meeting top politicians and movie stars during his time as a diplomat and spy in Washington. And, unbeknown to Roald, his mother lovingly kept every single one of them.

Sofie was, in many ways, Roald's first reader. It was she who encouraged him to tell stories and nourished his desire to fabricate, exaggerate and entertain. Reading these letters, you can see Roald practicing his craft, developing the dark sense of humour and fantastical imagination that would later produce such timeless tales as The BFG, Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Witches.
The letters in Love from Boy are littered with jokes and madcap observations; sometimes serious, sometimes tender, and often outrageous. To eavesdrop on a son's letters to his mother is to witness Roald Dahl turning from a boy to a man, and finally becoming a writer.

Biographical Notes

Roald Dahl was a spy, ace fighter-pilot, chocolate historian and medical inventor. He was also the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG and many more brilliant stories. He remains the world's number one storyteller.

Donald Sturrock grew up in England and South America. After leaving university he joined the BBC, where he wrote and produced television documentaries, including one about Roald Dahl. Since leaving the corporation, he has translated plays and written five opera librettos. He is the author of critically acclaimed biography of Roald Dahl, Storyteller, which was longlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize 2011 and won the Spear's Book Award for Biography 2011.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781444786262
  • Publication date: 02 Jun 2016
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: John Murray
A touching collection that throws new light on one of the greatest of all children's book writers . . . The sense of humour, often dark and subversive, that would come to delight the readers of Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Witches, dances through the pages of this wonderful book . . . Each chronological subdivision of this lovely book is illustrated with drawings, maps and photographs and prefaced by Donald Sturrock's exemplary editorial explanations. The letters become a delightfully original form of biography, as their author changes from child into student, into trainee fighter pilot in Iraq and Egypt, wartime daredevil in Greece and Palestine, diplomat in Washington, and unlikely British spy — Juliet Nicolson, Evening Standard
Love From Boy, in all its cunning unreliability, becomes more fascinating the more you think about it. It is a work of showmanship, written for someone to whom the author would always be a child. As the backdrop to one of the world's greatest children's writers, it's so wonderfully complicated you'd have thought even Dahl couldn't have made it up. Except that he did — Daily Telegraph
Sturrock's carefully chosen letters, complemented by a judicious selection of biographical and photographic material, testify to a bond between mother and son that is unbreakable, even in the face of boarding school, war and sexual jokes about Hitler — The Times, Book of the Week
Sturrock is right to claim that the letters to his mother show, in embryo, essential features of Dahl's art, such as his fantastical imagination and his sadistic sense of humour — Sunday Times
[An] entertaining and eye-opening collection . . . it is his younger self that is captured here - jaunty and anarchic, yet a recognisable forerunner of that more subtly anarchic, stooping, cardiganed figure who was the world-famous author, gazing out on the world from his garden shed with watery, mischievous eyes — Literary Review
[An] enjoyable selection from Dahl's devoted four-decade correspondence with his mother . . . an intriguing mixture of absolute intimacy, a total disregard for priggishness or decorum, fierce candour, and, in certain respects, a complete absence of it — Guardian
Sturrock's commentary on the letters is meticulous, thoughtful and kind. Anyone looking for revelations, kiss and tell or psychoanalytic exposure will be disappointed. It's a fascinating view of an extraordinary mid-20th century, upper-middle-class British boy and man talking to his extraordinary Norwegian mother — Michael Rosen, Observer
It offers an insight not only to Dahl's close relationship with his mother but also a glimpse into how he became one of the greatest children's authors of the 20th century — Independent
A fascinating collection — Mail on Sunday
Lovingly edited and deftly commented upon by his biographer Donald Sturrock — Spectator
John Murray

Dear Mr Murray

David McClay
Authors:
David McClay
Hodder Paperbacks

Should You Ask Me

Marianne Kavanagh
Authors:
Marianne Kavanagh
Teach Yourself

Teach Yourself to Fly

Nigel Tangye
Authors:
Nigel Tangye
Two Roads

The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle

Kirsty Wark
Authors:
Kirsty Wark
Sceptre

Shame and the Captives

Thomas Keneally
Authors:
Thomas Keneally

On the edge of a small town in New South Wales, far from the battlefields of the Second World War, lies a prisoner-of-war camp housing Italian, Korean and Japanese soldiers. For their guards and the locals, many with loved ones away fighting, captive or dead, it is hard to know how to treat them - with disdain, hatred or compassion? Alice, a young woman leading a dull life on her father-in-law's farm, is one of those with a husband held prisoner in Europe. When Giancarlo, an Italian POW and anarchist, is assigned to work on the farm, she hopes that being kind to him will somehow influence her husband's treatment. What she doesn't anticipate is how dramatically Giancarlo will expand her outlook and self-knowledge. But what most challenges Alice and the town is the foreignness of the Japanese inmates and their culture, which the camp commanders fatally misread. Mortified by being taken alive, they plan an outbreak, to shattering and far-reaching effect.In a career spanning half a century, Tom Keneally has proved a master at exploring ordinary lives caught up in extraordinary events. With this gripping and profoundly thought-provoking novel, inspired by a notorious incident in 1944, he once again shows why he is celebrated as a writer who 'looks into the heart of the human condition with a piercing intelligence that few can match' - Sunday Telegraph.(P)2014 Bolinda Audio

Horatio Clare

Horatio Clare has worked on Front Row and Nightwaves, and produced Radio 3`s The Verb. Born in 1973, Clare has written for The Spectator, the New Statesman, the Guardian, and the Daily Telegraph.

Howard Sounes

Howard Sounes is known for writing detailed and revelatory biographies of a wide range of extraordinary personalities, including the murderers Fred and Rosemary West (Fred & Rose), the American author Charles Bukowski (Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life), and the musicians Bob Dylan (Down the Highway) and Paul McCartney (Fab). Each book is based on extensive original research. For more information visit www.howardsounes.com.

Ian McMillan

Ian McMillan hosts the weekly words show The Verb on Radio 3. He is Yorkshire Planetariums Poet in Space, Poet-in-Residence at Barnsley FC and The Academy of Urbanism, Humberside Police's Beat Poet and Yorkshire TVs Investigative Poet. He has been a regular on Newsnight Review, The Mark Radcliffe Show, The Today Programme, You & Yours and Have I Got News For You? Cats make him sneeze. His poetry shows are the stuff of legend.

Jai Pausch

Jai Pausch became an impassioned advocate promoting pancreatic cancer research following the 2008 death of her husband, Randy Pausch, Ph.D, acclaimed Carnegie Mellon University professor and author of the international best seller, The Last Lecture. During Randy's twenty-three-month battle with cancer, Jai took on the responsibility as his cancer caregiver, learning specialised medical, palliative, and hospice care. Previously, Jai Pausch led the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science Web team as the Director of Electronic Publications. Today, Pausch researches do-it-yourself instructional videos for home repairs and remodelling. She lives with her children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe, in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Jill Bolte Taylor

Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. is a neuroanatomist affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. She is the national spokesperson for the mentally ill at the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (Brain Bank) and the consulting neuroanatomist for the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute.Jill Bolte Taylor was named as one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2008 and has been part of Oprah Winfrey's Soul Series, where Oprah invites inspirational thinkers on to her show to talk about matters of the soul.She lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

Julian Rubinstein

Julian Rubinstein has written for the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Details, Sports Illustrated, Salon, and other publications. His work has been selected for the Best American Crime Writing anthology and has been cited twice by the Best American Sports Writing. Raised in Denver, he now lives in New York. The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber is his first book.

Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson served as the seventh, and first woman, President of Ireland from 1990-1997, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002. Robinson has been Honorary President of Oxfam International since 2002, and has chaired numerous bodies including the GAVI Alliance, vaccinating children worldwide, the Council of Women World Leaders (of which she was a co-founder), the International Institute for Environment and Development, and the Institute for Human Rights and Business. A former President of the International Commission of Jurists, Robinson serves on the board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which supports good governance in Africa, and is a member of the Elders, an independent group of global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela. A member of the Royal Irish Academy and the American Philosophical Society, she is the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Indira Ghandi and Sydney Peace Prizes, and has been Chancellor of Dublin University since 1998. She is married to Nick Robinson with three children and four grandchildren. Now President of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, she lives in Dublin and Mayo.Tessa Robinson is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and the King's Inns. She practised as a barrister for ten years before becoming a freelance writer and copy editor. She is Mary's daughter and lives in Dublin with her husband and two children.

Michael Volpe

Michael Volpe, the youngest of four brothers, is from an Italian immigrant family and has three children; Leanora, Gianluca and Fiora. He is married to Sally Connew-Volpe and they live in London. Michael joined the Royal Borough Of Kensington and Chelsea in October 1989 after a period of working in the international hotel industry and founded Opera Holland Park in 1996. Michael is a Chelsea supporter, and fervent advocate of cultural engagement for all - neither of which are necessarily related.

Nicholas Tomalin

Nicholas Tomalin studied English literature at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He was a featured columnist for the Daily Express, the Sunday Times, and the Evening Standard, before becoming literary editor of the New Statesman. He was nominated for Reporter of the Year for his coverage of the war in Vietnam. Tomalin was killed in Israel in 1973 while reporting on the Yom Kippur War.

Nuala Gardner

Nuala Gardner is a nurse and midwife. She and her husband Jamie have two children, Dale and Amy, both of whom have autism. Dale is 18 and planning a career working with children with autism.

Paul Du Noyer

Paul Du Noyer was a music journalist for more than 30 years, whose interviewees ranged from Madonna to Pavarotti, David Bowie to Mick Jagger and The Beatles, not least Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Born in Liverpool, Paul was educated at the London School of Economics. He has written the definitive musical histories of both Liverpool and London.

Penny Junor

Have added line in bold of her biography: Penny Junor is a writer and broadcaster. She is the author of many best-selling biographies including of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, both the Prince and the Princess of Wales and two British Prime Ministers. She also co-wrote best-selling autobiographies of Pattie Boyd and Sir Cliff Richard. For many years she presented The Travel Show on BBC2 and Channel 4's award-winning consumer programme 4 What It's Worth. She is married with children and grandchildren and lives in Wiltshire.

Ron Hall

Ron Hall studied mathematics and statistics at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was co-founder of the Sunday Times' investigative unit 'Insight', where he was editor from 1964-66, and became managing editor of the Sunday Times in 1969. He died aged 79 in 2014.

Sam Delaney

Sam Delaney is an award-winning writer and broadcaster whose columns and features appear regularly in the Guardian and the Sunday Telegraph. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio Five Live and has written and presented TV documentaries for the BBC, Channel Four and Channel Five.

Sara Payne

Sara Payne won the hearts of the country when she, with husband, Mike, appealed for the return of their missing daughter Sarah. The whole nation grieved when Sarah`s murdered body was found. When Sara found strength to campaign for the controversial Sarah`s Law she again won respect and admiration. She is a strong personality fuelled by a determination to protect the lives and innocence of all children after her own tragic loss.