Donal Ryan: The book that made me

Author Donal Ryan on a Roald Dahl classic


Donal Ryan: The book that made me

I already loved Roald Dahl when I was given The Wonderful Story Of Henry Sugar And Six More (Penguin Books, £6.99) by my parents, aged nine. Up until then, he’d only ever made me laugh and cheer the good guys on to their ineluctable victories. Then I read about a boy who seems too kind for this world, and another who’s bullied close to death. And, suddenly, the certainty of good’s triumph was gone; here was cruelty without its gargoyle mask of wicked comedy.

Add in a first look at the great man himself – being beaten at school; flying and crashing fighter planes; accidentally becoming a writer – and this book, though full of hard truths, brims with joy and magic, and changed the way I saw myself, and the world.

Donal Ryan is author of All We Shall Know (Doubleday, £12.99)