Ahoy there me mateys! While drawin’ up me lists of 2016 for me log, I realized a curious thing – out of 134 books read, not a single one was a re-read. In me enthusiasm of discovery and taking suggestions from me crew, I did not revisit a single old port for plunder! And part of what I love about readin’ is re-visitin’ old friends. So I decided to remedy that and thus created me new category where I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again . . .
the witches – Roald Dahl
So I am not a huge audio book person. In fact the only story I previously listened to was the dispatcher which I “read” and reviewed with me first mate. Now I know that I said I preferred readin’ books rather than listening to them (still true) but some circumstances led me to listening to the witches via audiobook. So basically I have been having long days where I am doing monotonous things like inventorying the hold, reviewing the accounts, and supervising the swabbin’ of the deck. None of these tasks involves a ton of brain power. So frankly I get a bit bored. Usually I listen to and sing sea shanties. But even that had lost its luster. So I thought why not listen to an audio book. I had time constraints and knew that I couldn’t listen to something new that might distract me. So I decided to listen to an old favourite children’s book due to the length and because I would already be familiar with the story. Thus the witches because I had a copy readily available.
I loved Dahl’s books as a young lass and consider many of them favourites. Like me commandeered little princess tale, me copy of the witches was filched at some point and so I hadn’t read this one since that incident. I absolutely loved revisiting this tale.
This is the story of a small boy whose encounter with witches forever changes his life. Now ye may think of witches as scary women with warts and green skin and long pointy black hats. The truth is that in disguise, they look like perfectly nice ordinary young women, and they have a plot to get rid of all children in England for good. Unless one small boy with the help of his Norwegian grandmother can save the day!
I certainly missed Quentin Blake’s illustrations but thought overall that narrator Miranda Richardson did a fairly good job with the characters. The only issue that I had was her portrayal of the head witch. The head witch rolls the letter r and turns the letter w into a v. Many of these lines were unintelligible at times. But overall I thought that the story was just as wonderful as I remembered. I may try this audio book thing again.
Side note: the first mate told me there was a movie of the witches with Anjelica Huston as the head witch. I watched the 1990 trailer and my goodness does it depart from the book. I think I shall skip it.
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
This is not a fairy-tale. This is about real witches. Real witches don’t ride around on broomsticks. They don’t even wear black cloaks and hats. They are vile, cunning, detestable creatures who disguise themselves as nice, ordinary ladies. So how can you tell when you’re face to face with one? Well, if you don’t know yet you’d better find out quickly-because there’s nothing a witch loathes quite as much as children and she’ll wield all kinds of terrifying powers to get rid of them.
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