Tag Archives: Washington DC

Book Review: Love From Boy – Roald Dahl’s Letters to his Mother

Love from BoyLove From Boy

Roald Dahl’s Letters to His Mother

Edited by Donald Sturrock

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Penguin First to Read in return for my fair and honest review. Copyright © 2016 Laura Hartman

This is a fascinating collection of letters Roald sent to his mother from 1925 to 1965. He begins writing to his mother from St. Peter’s School, followed by Repton School in Derby. He then traveled to Nova Scotia, Norway, Canada, Tanganyika, Kenya, Iraq, Egypt, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Texas, and New York and back to Buckinghamshire. From these posts the reader gets an inside look at historical events and Roald’s opinions of what he sees and experiences.

Before I read this book I pictured him as a writer, toiling away at his desk on some of my favorite books. He actually was a story teller in the letters to his mother, painting pictures with his words about the places where he lived and worked.

We also see his compassion. He was worried about his mother finding out how horrid the conditions were at the boarding school. Disease was rampant and the teachers were, in many cases abusive. He wanted to spare her from concern so sugar-coated many of the events when mailing her weekly letters home.

He was also concerned for his family’s welfare. Roald repeatedly implored his mother to move to the countryside so she and his siblings would be out of harm’s way once the inevitable bombings of the war began. She never left her home, but thankfully was okay. He had access to items that were unavailable in England due to the war and frequently wrote asking her and his sisters for lists of things they needed him to send to them.

He experienced sadness and loss in his personal life. One of his children died at a very young age from an illness and another was in an accident, leading him to become a co-inventor of a shunt for children with brain injuries.

If you haven’t read any of his books that aren’t for children, you may be surprised by the salty language in his letters. But if you have read My Uncle Oswald, you might not be. It is a very funny, and quite bawdy.

I truly cannot pick out one or two of my favorite letters, there are just too many. He met dignitaries and presidents. And he dined with movie stars and the owner of the famed Hope Diamond – who wore it to dinner which Roald found a bit too much. He worked with Walt Disney!

If I haven’t convinced you yet, Roald was a gifted photographer and many of his photos as well as some of his drawings are included in this book. It is an amazing compilation of newsy letters that were saved by his mother, enabling the reader to glimpse into life as Roald experienced it. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in history, Roald Dahl, WWII or Hollywood.

3 Comments

Filed under Book Review

Rockin’ the Year: Foo Fighters Sonic Highway Tour DC

We don’t go to many live concerts. It isn’t that we don’t like them, in fact we LOVE them, but you know how life can get in the way and before you know it the band or person you wanted to see came to a venue near you and left before you get around to checking on tickets.

But THIS year, became the year we went to more concerts than ever before. It all began with getting tickets for our Daughter-in-law for her birthday for the Foo Fighters tour.

I was not a huge fan, but really got hooked on the Sonic Highway HBO series where Dave Grohl digs deep into the influential music in cities like Seattle, Chicago and Nashville. He is an amazing artist and was even more amazing in concert with the rest of the band, all of whom are talented musicians and showmen.

They were coming to Chicago, but since my son and DIL live in MD, we got tickets for the first show on the U.S. leg of the tour. July 4, 2015 at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C.

Prior to the concert Grohl broke his leg. Not a minor break, but one requiring surgery. He explained all about it during the concert, demoing the crazy chair his road crew built so that he could rock. Here is a Google pic of the chair and Grohl in action.

see original photo here: ( aptopix-foo-fighters-concert-washington.jpg November 5, 2015)
I am getting ahead of myself and the concert. It began at 1 P.M. and lasted until almost 11:00 PM. Bands that were featured on the Sonic Highways Tour started the day off and played non-stop (except during a rain delay) until the Foo Fighters took the stage around 9.
We were rocking to the sounds of Heart, Buddy Guy, Joan Jett, L.L. Cool J an others. It was an amazing mix of music and styles across the years and nation. From blues to rap, there was something for everyone.
The concert goers were young, old and everything in between. Everyone was on their feet when the music ended and they treated us all to a fireworks show.
Here are a couple of pictures we took on cell phones. We sang, clapped and screamed along with the rest of the stadium. For a few hours it was like being the other side of 50 again. I wouldn’t want to live there – but it was a fun place to visit for a few hours. I highly recommend it. 🙂
Waiting for the Foo Fighters to Start
Foo Fighter Concert 7.4.15
Dave Grohl
Jumbotron Dave Grohl

2 Comments

Filed under Blues, Chicago, music, Washington DC