Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review: The Twits by Roald Dahl

Children's books have been a car ride staple for our last few road trips, and on our recent trip down to North Carolina, we brought along Roald Dahl's The Twits.

It's a story about a truly awful husband and wife, who torment each other with horrid pranks. They also keep a family of monkey's prisoner and force them to stand on their heads all day long.

The great moment comes early in the book- Mr. Twit convinces Mrs. Twit that she has "The Shrinks." By gluing extra lengths of wood to her cane and chair each day, he tricks her into believing she is shrinking- that her head is collapsing into her neck, her neck into her body, her body into her legs; and that all that will be left of her is her shoes. This is revealed to be a lie, and Mrs. Twit plots her own revenge.

At the end of the book, after all the tricks and plots and plans, the neighborhood birds team up to destroy the Twits. The birds do it by attaching all the Twits' furniture to the ceiling, convincing the Twits that they need to stand on their heads in order to get right-way up. Once the Twits are standing on their heads, they are crushed under their own weight- their heads collapse into their necks, necks into torso, torso into legs.

The axiom runs that we are what we repeated do, and the Twits constant evil brought that evilness back to them. It's the very definition of poetic justice. Plus it was laugh out loud funny.

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