First off, Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl by Donald Sturrock, is written for adults. I love reading biographies that are "authorized" because they are filled with details, anecdotes, and interviews that many biographies lack. And, this book provides hundreds of details about Roald Dahl's life... details that we, as fans of his children's books, might find interesting or that might taint our view of one of our favorite writers.
Roald Dahl led an extraordinary, unusually chaotic, life. Donald Sturrock writes about the triumphs and tragedies that shaped Dahl's life. Storyteller shares many personal details of Dahl's relationships with others, his marriage to Patricia Neal, his life as a pilot, the deaths of family members, etc. Sturrock tells the story of a man who led an eclectic and complicated existence. And, throughout the read he uncovers just how difficult a man Roald Dahl was and he isn't afraid to take a look at Dahl's "darker" side. Knowing that Sturrock had full acess to Dahl's archives makes this an interesting read. He synthesizes Dahl's journals, correspondence, and papers into an intimate portrayal of an complex man. There's a great review on the book on NPR's website.
There are hints about what made Dahl tick as a writer, but that wasn't the purpose of the biography. This is not a book to read to find out more about Charlie, Augustus Gloop, or Aunts Spiker and Sponge came to be. For that, we'll have to rely on other accounts of his life, like Boy or Going Solo or D is for Dahl: A Gloriumptious A-Z Guide to the World of Roald Dahl.
Based on this read, Roald Dahl probably wouldn't have been the person we'd have on our friends list... in fact, he likely would have been "unfriended" by many of us. But there's no denying that he'll remain one of our favorite children's authors. If you like "tell all" biographies, you might find this a great one to check out from the library!