I received this book for Christmas from my other half. He wanted to buy me my favourite Roald Dahl book, and when he couldn't find it in store (it's The Twits, in case you're curious) he bought me his favourite instead. Ah well, it's the thought that counts...
I've always vaguely known James' story but I don't think it's one I've actually read before; my knowledge was probably based on the film (which is amazing and I have such a craving to watch it now I've read the book).
The book is quite different to the film, which meant it was a refreshing read for me. It starts off quite similarly, with poor James' parents being eaten by a rhino and him being sent to live with awful Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge. I enjoyed their fate in the book a lot more than I did in the film: a lot more satisfying and a lot more 'Dahl'.
I read this book when I was feeling a bit down and it certainly cheered me up. Dahl's books are charming, even when they're dark and dangerous, and they never fail to make me smile. This book had a few pages that lost me a little: a whole page paragraph describing the peach rolling away was a bit much for me, but otherwise the story moves fast and is captivating and even makes giant insects seem charming rather than scary.