Maybe because I read it as an adult, this was only an okay reading experience for me. The only other Roald Dahl I read for the first time as an adult rather than a kid was The BFG, but I still loved that book. So maybe this is just a book that only works well for kids. Also, unlike a lot of Dahl’s books, it hasn’t aged very well.
The basic gist of the plot is that Mr. Fox and his family live in a wood on a hill by three farms. The farmers are terrible men. They are typical Dahl characters, in that they are more caricatures than characters; his villains always have an edge of satire about them. And he also tends to physicalize their badness. One is extremely gluttonous and fat, one is very short and is described as a “dwarf” with a potbelly, and the other is very tall and beanpole thin because he doesn’t eat anything ever, only drinks his own homemade cider (aka he is an alcoholic . . . as an aside, I have always appreciated, especially as a kid, how dark Dahl’s books are). The description of the Farmers was the part that had aged the worst for me, but it’s also pretty sexist in the way it treats the women characters.
Mostly, though, I just didn’t think Mr. Fox was all that fantastic? The Farmers decide they are going to kill him to stop him stealing their livestock, and end up destroying the entire hill and forest along the way. And the way he stops them didn’t really make much sense. Why would all those animals want to spend the rest of their lives underground and never coming up to see the world again? It doesn’t sound very happy to me, even though the animals seem to think it is by the end. Also, those Farmers are assholes, but the animals decide that stealing from them is okay, and it just felt weird to me.
Read Harder Challenge 2019: A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character.