Katina – Roald Dahl (1/27)

This is the first short story in Volume One of Roald Dahlia Complete Short Stories. This book has twenty-seven short stories and I want to post a review for each individual one, that way I can give each one their due credit.

Katina is the first story in this collection, that have been put together in one place for fans of the amazing Roald Dahl. Katina was first published in Ladies’ Home Journal in March 1944, and it’s nice to see these little facts included.

Katina is the name of the little girl that is found alive among the rumble and dead bodies of 1944 war time (I’m guessing by the date this was written). She seems so out of place and she doesn’t speak English or the language of the soldiers. The little girl in the story resembles, for me, a little bit of light, or a distraction to the story and for the soldiers, among all the darkness, cruelty, death and bitterness that comes with war. She’s found amount such brutality and seems so out of place. So innocent.

I am not somebody who likes reading war stories, but knowing that Roald Dahl spent time in the war, you can really feel the truth in his words from his own vivid experiences in the words you’re reading. The descriptions and the writing is so vivid and expressive, you can imagine it all and feel it all. Then when the ending comes, you feel every word of it. It hits you and it’s so real, with no punches held back, just like war. You don’t get to decide the perfect ending, who lives or dies, you have to accept what happens, no matter how it makes you feel.

For a brief short story, it was unexpected, especially coming from Roald Dahl, when you’re used to reading about Everlasting Gobstoppers and made up fun children stories.

I am excited to read the rest of his short stories in this collection. . .

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is a little curious read that I came across and recognised, because of the film adaptation I had seen a couple of years ago. I never knew that this movie was based on a short story, especially one written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, so this took my interest.

This is a book, that is in itself for a better word, curious. Benjamin Button is born, but he isn’t born as you would expect, or how his parents had expected. Benjamin is born old. He has a beard, he can talk. Not what you would expect from a new born baby. As Benjamin goes through his life and ages, his body actually gets younger. So, he is going through life kid of backwards. Now Benjamin and those close to him, have to deal with this bizarre abnormality and everything that comes with it.

I honestly wasn’t expecting much from this little read, especially when you think that this short story takes place over the whole of Benjamins’ life. What can you really get from a short story? Well, I ended up really enjoying it. For such a short read, it contained so much. The writing was so beautifully and carefully done, ensuring to emulate and capture the age that the character was at each stage of his life. The way that this book ended, with the pure gentle child like innocence, was literally breath-taking. The whole concept behind the idea of this book did make me think about what if this was my reality, or if this happened to my child.

I did believe that F. Scott Fitzgerald could have gone so much more into this story and made it into a novel, instead of the short story that it is. If it was done as a longer and more detailed novel, then there would have been so much more emotion at certain parts and made this a much deeper read. This is why I ended up removing a star. However, for the short story that it is, it was still a good read and one I do recommend for people to read and therefore I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. I can’t believe I’d only read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald before today, this one definitely beat that for me.

Have you read this story before? Or any of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s works? What do you think?

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