Title: Danny the Champion of the World
Author: Roald Dahl
Page Count/Review Word Count: 222
Danny the Champion of the World is something of an anomaly – for a start, it’s one of several Roald Dahl books that I didn’t read until my adulthood, although I now wish that I’d read it sooner because it’s a cracker. The main thing that stands out for me, though, is that it’s the only book that I know of in which Dahl’s main characters are law-breakers – they’re poachers, and Dahl portrays them as the good guys and the landowner as the antagonist.
And guess what? It works incredibly well. The story-line is gripping and engaging and both Danny and his father make for excellent protagonists – the supporting cast of characters complements them beautifully, and even Victor Hazell, the antagonist, has a three-dimensional personality. The only thing I’m not sure about is the title – it’s a fantastic title, but it doesn’t really fit with the story. Danny the Champion of the Village, perhaps, but nothing more.
I feel like there’s a moral story here somewhere, but I can’t figure out what it is – who cares, though? This is Dahl at his best, and one of a half-dozen books that you should read.