I read everything of Roald Dahl’s that I could get my hands on as a child. I identified with Matilda SO MUCH - girl just wants to read and be smart! I had an inherent suspicion of women wearing wigs and gloves. Thanks to ‘Boy’ I never want to have my tonsils removed. Ever. I still believe that somewhere, my dreams are collected by a big friendly giant.
But the story that had the greatest impact on me was ‘The Swan.’ Published in The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, this tale of a boy suffering at the mercy of a bully left me profoundly shaken. The cruelty was just too much for my gentle heart, but I had to keep reading to find out what happened next. I was 10 when I first read it. ‘The Swan’ haunts me still, in the way that all great stories should.