The Twits, by Roald Dahl

The Twits.  By Roald Dahl. Illustrated by Quentin Blake.  Puffin, 1982. 87 pages. $6.99

Plot: The Twits are awful people.  My Twit has a disgusting spiky beard that he never washes; it is full of bits of food and other debris.  Mrs. Twit is ugly, but she wasn’t always that way.  Her face got uglier and uglier until eventually the ugliness of her face matched the ugliness of her thoughts.  The Twits do not seem to like anyone, even each other.  They spend most of their time thinking up or carrying out cruel tricks on each other.  Mrs. Twit feeds Mr. Twit worms in place of spaghetti.  Mr. Twit adds small bits of wood to Mrs. Twit’s walking stick every day to convince her she has a terrible case of the shrinks.  The tricks go back and forth and back and forth, until the day the birds and monkeys get involved.  Will the mugglewump monkeys have to spend the rest of their lives upside down, like Mr. Twit would like them to?  Will the birds continue to be made in the Twits Wednesday night bird pie?  Will the Twits ever get what they deserve?

Review: Roald Dahl never fails to make his stories unique and weirdly twisted.  With The Twits, he did not disappoint.  His gentle, melodic, and matter-of-fact writing belies the darkness of the Twits’ story, but this works to keep readers engaged and not too uncomfortable.  Readers will be justifiably and satisfyingly outraged at the preposterous, mean, and warped behavior of two of Dahl’s worst characters.  When the monkeys finally decide enough is enough, readers will root for them and hope they succeed in exacting revenge on these despicable people.

Genre(s): Humor

Reading/Interest Level: 8-12 years

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook

ISBN: 978-0439269704

Subjects: tricks, misanthropy

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2 Comments on “The Twits, by Roald Dahl”

  1. theveryhungrybookworm says:

    I loved this book when I was little. I should go back and read it again for another good laugh. The sad thing is that even though Dahl is wildly creative, he always bases his story on his understanding of humanity. We all know people who, deep down, are like the twits!

  2. Yes, you’re right about Dahl. In the back of the version of the book I have, there is some explanatory text including the fact that Dahl hated beards…


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