Monday, September 30, 2013

Kiss, Kiss; Switch Bitch; and My Uncle Oswald by Road Dahl

Triple Laughter (Still Laughing Week)

Last week we looked at laugh-out-loud funny books that were memoirs or biographical in nature.  They were essays about real people and real events. They were definitely amusing. But they were not plot- or character-driven.   For the most part, they weren't structural stories complete with a background, conflict, climax, and resolution. 

If you find yourself craving for more than funny essays and memoirs. If you’re craving for silly with no hint of reality, meshed with a traditional beginning, middle, and end, then you may want to peruse Roald Dahl’s My Uncle Oswald.

Hmm… Roald Dahl, you say?  Sounds familiar? Yes, that’s right. Roald Dahl’s name might ring a bell because he was a famous children’s writer.  He delighted children all over the world with Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Danny, Champion of the World, just to name a few of his books. My son loved Roald Dahl.  He had most of his books and I loved reading them with him.  They were funny and imaginative, always enjoyable.

What a lot of people don’t know is that Roald Dahl didn’t just cater to kids.  He wrote a few adult books, and when I say “adult” I mean they weren’t always appropriate for kids.  Still, his style remained funny and imaginative, but the books included talk about sex and all those taboo topics that seven-year-old little Johnny may not be ready for. 

My Uncle Oswald, for instance, centers on Oswald Hendryks Cornelius, an oversexed bachelor who had slept with more women than he could count.  In this funny novel we find out how Oswald became a very wealthy man after discovering a natural aphrodisiac, compliments of the Blister Beetle. Oswald’s brilliant mind for business and pleasure worked overtime, and with the help of a professor of chemistry he devised a plan to rake in even more money.  It involved the assistance of a beautiful woman named Yasmin who would offer great, famous, and powerful men of their times chocolates laced with the ultra-potent Blister Beetle aphrodisiac.  The men went wild. They were uncontrollable animals and ultimately had their way with Yasmin.  Just as planned.  She then ahhh… obtained “manhood specimens” from them, which the professor froze. The frozen products would later be sold for great sums of money to women who want a child fathered by the likes of Renoir, Monet, Puccini, Freud, Einstein, or the King of Norway. Perverted?  Yes!  But it was also laugh-out-loud funny!  BTW, as a side note I have to mention that I am not into erotic literature.  I do not read romance novels, and I have not read any of the Shades of Grey books. The main draw of this book is that’ it’s really funny--and it just happens to be about sex.

If you’re not quite sure how much of Uncle Oswald you may be able to take, you may want to start with a collection of Dahl’s short stories.  One is called Switch Bitch, a mix of humorous tales, not all sexual in nature.  In Switch Bitch, we first meet Uncle Oswald in a short story called. “The Visitor.” This story involves the seduction of a mother and daughter living in a private oasis in the Sinai Desert where Oswald is a guest of the distinguished Mr. Abdul Aziz. The circumstances don’t turn out as he anticipated and the result is pure laughter.

If Uncle Oswald’s overactive sexual escapes don’t seem to pique the slightest interest, you may just want to read another collection of Dahl’s short stories that do not have an appearance by the wicked uncle.   Kiss, Kiss  has tamer stories such as the “Parson’s Pleasure,” about a man seeking to scam a man out of a priceless Chipendale commode.

“He found himself giggling quite uncontrollably, and there was a feeling inside of him as though hundreds and hundreds of tiny bubbles were rising up from his stomach and bursting merrily in the top of his head like sparkling-water.” (When he was about to scam Mr Rummins out of a Chippendale commode.)
Roald Dahl, Kiss, Kiss, “Parson’s Pleasure” (1953; reprint, New York: Bookspan Quality Paperback Book Club with Penguin Group, USA, 2003), 67.

“A delicious little quiver like needles ran all the way down the back of Mr. Boggis’s legs and then under the soles of his feet.” (When he was about to scam Mr Rummins out of a Chippendale commode.) 
Roald Dahl, Kiss, Kiss, “Parson’s Pleasure” (1953; reprint, New York: Bookspan Quality Paperback Book Club with Penguin Group, USA, 2003), 67.

Happy reading,


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1 comment:

  1. I have only read some of his children stories. I look forward to reading his adult selection as well. Thank you.