There’s no need to introduce Roald Dahl… he is beloved writer for children and an author of many, many books. And also books that have been turned into films. I recently reviewed Witches, which I disliked, not to mention that the film version for Witches scared me to bits when I was a little human bean. Yet now BFG, first published in 1982, is coming out as movie, so I decided that it is time to read it.
The BFG is a story about a giant, one of ten who currently live in the Giant country and it happens so that he meets Sophie with whom the giant shares his life, general things and information about giants, his favourite things to do and also the dreadful habits of the rest of giants. It is a children fairy tale about the adventures of BFG and Sophie.
I picked this book up only because of the trailer – it looked really magical and seemed like it could be a pretty good film and I sure hope it is.
The writing in this book was really nice, I enjoyed the many puns (like ‘beings’ were turned into ‘beans’ in giant conversations) that were used in this book and often they made me smile. I got really curious though about how this book is translated into other languages (so if you have examples, please let me know). The reference to Jack the Giant slayer was pretty awesome too, I happened to catch onto it with the first sentence although I haven’t read that fairy tale!
Names for all the giants though I found a little bit of a mouthful, especially because they are named pretty much all at the same time and I just couldn’t remember who preferred Wellington and who Jersey, if you know what I mean. I think it would and could give a bit more character to the giants, if I could distinguish them from one another, yet at the same time, it gives the place for an adult to expand, if (s)he is reading this book to his/her child. I like that it gives the chance to interact and add own bits to the story.
As characters, I found that I liked the Elizabeth the most as well as her butler. Although they had rather short scenes, I found them to be my favourites. I especially enjoyed the part about setting the table ready. It was cute and funny at the same time.
What I didn’t really like about the book was a tiny thing. The BFG seems like a very sensible and sensitive being, who respects life and surroundings, so it makes sense that he disapproves other giants’ doing and is vegetarian. Yet, it strikes me weird (and I believe so it has done with many other people) that he is feasting with eggs, bacon and sausages. I get that vegetarianism wasn’t that big of a thing when this book was written and I don’t expect it to, yet I feel like it goes against the idea Sophie and BFG stand for. And somehow it at the end shows that after all, the human’s life is a lot more important than animals, which is a really strong thing to say in a kids book.
I am not a vegetarian (well sometimes I am, but for different reasons than this book offers), but it still seems weird from the aspect of logic.
And the other thing that threw me off was the ending – what happened to the giants. It again implied that eating humans is bad, but animals – just fine. Although human is an animal from the biological aspect, yet they punish one while allow the other.
This made it hard for me to rate the book – I really liked it at the beginning, but the more these things, that seemed to oppose ideas mentioned before, happened the more I started to dislike it. I am still quite excited about the film and I really hope it is going to be as magical as I hope, but this book with its ending and the ideas that I didn’t like got three stars out of five on my goodreads page. It was a sure four star rating before all changed up. I also have read that this book is outdated, but I am not sure where I stand on this, I would guess, they are still talking about the vegetarian thing…
I also thought that the fact that I read this book in a plane when flying back from Rome might change my decisions, but actually I feel like it had no impact whatsoever and I think this was the first book in a flight that I actually read, instead of just carrying around with me and never using.
Let me know, if you have read the book and what you think of the upcoming movie and it’s trailer in the comment section below! I am really, really excited about it and hope it’s going to me amazing!