Another book for the book club! Not so long ago I’ve read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Just a bit after that a friend remembered once reading a real funny book in her teen years. I don’t remember now whether she recalled it due to remembering the author, or some other reason, but after some searches that book turned out to be “My Uncle Oswald” by Roald Dahl himself (ISBN 0241955769; 205p.; Goodreads), this one for adult readers strictly. And since she was both willing to re-read it, and had little to no memory of this book – we took it up as a book club suggestion.
A story within a story. Sometimes with another story. Someone is telling us of their uncle Oswald by giving chapters of his diary. Proper chapters of “now I’ll tell you of this“, rather than the Dracula type of “today” passages. Oswald takes it upon himself to tell us how he became multimillionaire by the pleasure, for the pleasure.
It’s a fairly short story of how sex and products of it can become a profit with no one getting judged in the process. Oswald finds out of this magical Sudanese blister beetle. When dried and powdered, a mere pinch on the tip of a needle point is enough to drive anyone up the wall with desire. So he goes on buying large quantities of it, and by spinning a story of a non-existent man with more authority than this 17 y/o that he was, sells pills by the thousands for thousands. But by far it is not enough for him. So when he returns home, and his good old friend tells him of his discovery how sperm can be frozen and kept for unlimited periods of time, and then used to impregnate, say, cows with prized bulls, he leaps to yet another mad plan. He finds a smart young woman, arms her with Blister Beetle powder and off they go on an adventure of, pardon the image, milking the greatest men of those times. For who wouldn’t want a baby of a king? Or, say, an actual child of Einstein? Naturally, they come across all sorts of hiccups, overdoses, mix-ups, gay men, and other adventures, which are described here.
While the book was amusing and funny in its own way, I can only offer it 3 out of 5, and would give less if not for the fact that author spent a great deal of time, it seems, thinking what other great men are like in bed. There’s too little explanations, and descriptions for some things, and we end up getting “rubbery thing”, and other “thingy thing” equivalents, and then miles and miles of wine, and food descriptions. Those bore me to death, and soon I learned I can skim over them, thus shortening whole read by probably good quarter of the book. I do understand this is satire, but satire can be better than this, and the fact that I’ve read better than this – leaves me preferring his children’s books.