Original pre-read review, 4/15/2012:
This does not sound like the Roald Dahl I remember. Color me intrigued.After reading, 9/10/2013:
So yeah, okay, this isn't the Roald Dahl I remember. But somehow it is. His style is all there: the dry humor, creepiness, and gross-out shock value all play a big part in these stories. They're just not for kids anymore. These four tales are all about sex, sex, SEX. I was actually expecting them to be a bit more titillating, but it turns out they're not explicit at all -- most of the action is implied and all the juicy bits happen "offscreen".
These stories are highly dated, though. This was published in the 1960's, so I'm not too surprised, but the attitudes towards sex and gender roles as portrayed here are definitely of another era. All of the male characters are highly misogynistic, and that's at their best -- many of them are downright rapey. Still, they all have twist endings and the men who have taken advantage of women in the stories typically have their plans backfire and get some punishment."The Visitor"
-- 3 stars
Introduces the over-the-top hedonist and spider enthusiast (but germophobic) Oswald Hendryks Cornelius along with the story of one of his trysts. This was probably my favorite of the collection. Uncle Oswald is one of those people that would be absolutely insufferable in real life--a snobby womanizer who is completely self-absorbed--but he is wonderfully amusing as a character to read about. "The Great Switcheroo"
-- 3 stars
Two neighbors arrange to secretly have sex with each others' wives without the ladies finding out about it. This goes about as well as you would expect."The Last Act"
-- 2 stars
Definitely my least favorite. This one isn't funny at all like the other three; it's mostly just depressing. I found the first part boring and the ending vaguely confusing. Meh."Bitch"
-- 3 stars
Uncle Oswald is back and this time he's collaborating with a talented "nose" to create a perfume that will make a woman absolutely irresistable to any men who smell her. As in, they will be overcome by animal instincts, rip her clothes off, and assault her. See what I mean about the rapey?
Overall rating: 3 stars