I finished reading The Witches by Roald Dahl over the last couple of days. I must say I quite enjoyed the experience. 🙂
The Witches is the story of a young boy and his grandmother and their encounter with some dangerous witches. The little boy loses his parents in an accident, and comes to live with his dear old grandmother. The wise grandmother, who knows all about witches, tells the boy all about them. According to the grandmother, it is only in stories that witches wear black dresses and fly on broomsticks. In real life, witches look exactly like normal women, and it is very difficult to differentiate them, specially if they are disguised as sweet women who mean no harm. They love squishing young children, and hence once should always be careful. The grandmother goes on to tell her grandson about the distinguishing characteristics of witches. Soon enough, when the grandmother and grandson are on a vacation, they encounter a group of witches, and the grandson is able to identify them. What follows afterwards is a great adventure, which makes for a fun read.
The Witches was banned in the past, and I could see why. I could see where and how this book could scare children. It seems to suggest that all women could be witches, and that you need to be wary of everyone. It’s not a book I would read to a too-young child, but then, it’s too delicious and fun a book to give a pass. I would say it’s more of a mature children’s book – it’s for children who know the difference between fact and fiction.
As with all Roald Dahl books so far, I had a great time reading this one too. It goes to my list of favourite Dahl books, for sure. Probably, I would have been scared to death if I’d read this one as a young kid, without knowing the book for what it was – a fun, fictional read. You HAVE to read this one, though, for all the humour, fun and adventure in it.