Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way

100 Books by 40: BFG and Swallows and Amazons

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It’s been a bit since I last posted about books. I actually finished BFG some weeks ago. It totally slipped my mind to write about it. I have also been spending quality time with Anna Karenina and Brideshead Revisited. I should wrap both of those up in the next week or two. So while I haven’t been writing about reading, I have been doing a considerable amount of reading.

BFG is and acronym for Big Ugly Giant. Said giant steals an orphan from her bed. To the girl’s horror, she learns that there is a land of human eating giants. Luckily, her BFG seems to be a vegetarian. Adventures ensue when they attempt to thwart the human-munching giants.

Roald Dahl seems to be deliberate in the morality he delivers in his books if Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is representative of the rest of his work. It follows that he is making a point about the morality of eating animals. He doesn’t shy  away from dark topics, and the way he glibly describes the different flavor profiles of humans across the globe seems to mirror the way in which we talk about pork, beef, or chicken. Maybe I’m interpreting this too directly. Maybe he’s making a broader statement about consumption, and the willful ignorance that it requires to maintain peace of mind.

In casting the orphan girl and an unattractive giant as the protagonists, he is suggesting that people just outside the norm have inherent value. Toward the end of the book the girl and BFG get treated to a dinner with The Queen, which seems to suggest that the world will value you for what you can deliver to it rather than how you look. I love this as a message, but I don’t think the world is inherently fair. People who deliver valuable work are routinely judged by more superficial measures. Of the lies that I used to believe, my faith in fairness was the most difficult to shed.

Jeez. I didn’t know I had this much to say about this book. I didn’t love it when I was reading it. But I love the way it made me think. It’s a short, easy, thought-provoking read, so I suggest it.

Swallows and Amazons is a precious book. It’s the most romanticized tale of childhood that I have read yet. It’s a pleasant read in that it prompted me to daydream about racing dirt bikes and building tree forts. But it was too precious. A couple bites of cotton candy are nice; a whole bag of cotton candy rots the teeth. Swallows and Amazons is a great thoughtless beach read, but it’s utterly unmemorable.

Now then, back to Anna KarininaBrideshead RevisitedA Suitable Boy, and Naughts and Crosses.

One thought on “100 Books by 40: BFG and Swallows and Amazons

  1. Pingback: 100 Books by 40: VICKY ANGEL | Kate's Queen City Notes

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