So I've decided I'm going to read one children's book a week and discuss it here on a Friday. This week's book is The Twits by Roald Dahl.
Published: 1998 by Penguin Books
How do you outwit a Twit? Mr. and Mrs. Twit are the smelliest, ugliest people in the world. They hate everything -- except playing mean jokes on each other, catching innocent birds to put in their Bird Pies, and making their caged monkeys, the Muggle-Wumps, stand on their heads all day. But the Muggle-Wumps have had enough. They don't just want out, they want revenge.
I read this as a kid, obviously, but I'd forgot pretty much everything that happened in it. I don't think I was a big fan of it as a kid, and having read it again now, I understand why; anything to do with food/mess knocks me sick. The description of Mr Twit's beard actually makes me gag, no exaggeration. Bleugh. But I was a weird kid, and I'm sure that most kids find it hilarious. I'm sure my brother would!
Reading children's books as an adult is interesting. As a kid, I'm sure I found the fact that the monkeys turned everything upside down hilarious. As an adult, I understand the irony of the Twits getting the shrinks, and understand that it's a lesson in karma. My mum's favourite piece of advice, which she's drummed into me is 'do as you would be done by', or, 'treat people how you want to be treated.' That's pretty much what The Twits is about.
I love the way Roald Dahl writes, the way he addresses the reader as though they're in cahoots. The language is simple, but not too simple. I love that it's almost like he's having a conversation with the reader, and he's talking to them with respect, and acknowledging that they have thoughts and opinions on things.
One thing I'd have to say is that 'two wrongs don't make a right' and that Muggle-Wumps could have been the better man - or monkey- and just left. But then what kind of story would that have been? And anyway, the Twits were horrible and deserved everything they got.
My favourite quote:
"If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until it gets so ugly you can hardly bear to look at it. A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely."Overall, I give this book: 4/5