Yet another book I’ve read with my kid. I promise you that I’m also reading grown-up books, but I just haven’t reviewed most of them yet (I’m over 30 reviews behind – I am not proud of that). And this is one I can wholly endorse.
We picked it up because the whole family wants to see the movie. Now that I’ve read it (not sure how I missed it when I was a kid), I want to see it even more. But I would see it just for Mark Rylance. Have loved him ever since Wolf Hall.
Anyway, like I said in the title, people get eaten in this book, and yet it manages to be sweet and lighthearted. You see, there are these giants. They’ve been around for a while, and every night 9 of them go out into the world and eat people, because people taste good (tastes depend on where the people live: people from Wellington taste of boots, people from Panama taste of hats, Esquimos are like ice cream lollies, and nothing warms up a chilly giant like a nice tasty Hottentot). And it’s not just one person per giant – these dudes are over 50 feet tall, they need lots of calories to keep going.
But there’s one giant who’s just a little different from the others. The BFG (Big Friendly Giant, for those of you without televisions, computers, or libraries) is the runt of the litter, and categorically refuses to eat people. He’s a good guy, who spends his time catching dreams to blow into the heads of sleeping children.
One night the BFG catches a little orphan girl watching him, and whisks her away to giant land so she won’t be able to tell the world about the giants. At first she has trouble understanding him, because he gets his words all jumbled (he never went to school, you see). But eventually they get each other, and Sophie realizes that she and the BFG need to do something to save the human beans (BFG’s term) from being gobbled up by the nasty giants. So they do what any normal people would do – they go see the queen (of England).
Between the three of them, plus the army and the air force, they figure out how to stop the giants, and of course everyone lives happily ever after (except the people who have already been eaten).
I adored this book, as did my boy. It’s often a good thing to read books like this while the world is falling apart all around us. I’m all for escapism with happy endings. Especially since I’m beginning to doubt there will be an abundance of those any time soon.