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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars


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on 21 July 2017
Bought for English Level 2.... Good book.
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on 4 June 2017
given as a present
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on 4 August 2017
Excellent product & delivery
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on 21 April 2011
"Someone like you" was the last Roald Dahld's book that I've read. I came across it by chance, but now I realize that I was lucky.
I've been reading many other books of that amazing, wonderful writer, but I have to say that it was one of my favourites.
Despite the fact that it isn't the fastest-moving book that I've ever read, the author mantains his intriguing, gripping style although it's a book of short stories.
In these fifteen narrations we can look deeply into the feelings of the ordinary people and try to understand their behaviour. You may think that the characters are quite old fashioned, but in fact, in some ways, we are like them. I guess that the differences are the situations that they have to overcome, because I'm sure that most of us would act in the same way.
You can also learn about different cultures, social classes, dressing, animals and even food!
I recommend this book to everybody, all ages and cultures, especially if you don't have enough time for reading or just if you hate boring, heavy-going stories. I would like to encourage everybody to have the opportunity to read this book, you won't regret it!
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At last Roald Dahl has made it into the Penguin Modern Classics series, and it is about time too. If like me, you have probably read these tales many times before, and I think that most if not all of those presented here have been filmed in that great TV series 'Tales of the Unexpected'.

In this selection you have many great tales showing how wonderful Roald Dahl was at story-telling. Sometimes we are prone to forget that he was great at short stories for the more mature market, as most emphasis is placed on his children’s stories. Here he shows how to create suspense, whether it is with stories of bizarre bets or an everyday occurrence. He sometimes gives us unusual twists, and other times not, leading you always to wonder what is coming next. Some of these tales are quite macabre, most are quite dark and he writes them with such aplomb, in some cases recreating that greatest of short story writers, Saki.

I have read all his adult stories so many times that I usually can remember what is going to happen in most of these, but even so that doesn't detract from them. Of course if you are reading them for the very first time then I envy you. What is certain though is that once you have read these you will want to read them many times more. Reading these Dahl tales is like having a box of chocolates to yourself, you want to curl up in peace and quiet and revel in them.
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on 16 September 2015
You will have Adele’s song stuck in your head the entire time that you’re reading this, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Someone Like You is a fantastic collection of short stories, and unlike the work that Mr. Dahl is most well-known for, it’s definitely not one for kids.

See, the stories are dark, and I like that – subject matter includes a bet in which a man could lose his finger, a man who’s almost driven mad by his sound machine (which records even the cries of plants and trees when they’re uprooted), and even a man who’s terrified that he’s about to be bitten by a poisonous spider. That story features some casual racism towards the end, but because it’s from a character and from a time when it was much more common, that’s Dahl forgiven.

Two other stories of note include The Great Automatic Grammatizator, a machine which resembles a giant computer and which can spit out short stories and novels at a speed and standard that no other writer could keep up with, and a longer set of stories which are grouped under the title of ‘Claud’s Dog‘, and which are loosely linked together and which left me feeling a little confused, although the ending was fantastic.

Overall, then, this is not just one of the best books of Dahl’s short stories that I’ve read, but one of the best books of short stories in general. It’s worth tracking down a copy for your collection.
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on 1 May 2016
I wanted to love this book and indeed I started out loving it, but it went downhill fast and continued on a downward spiral for me. This is a collection of adult short stories by Roald Dahl and like many collections, some stories were stronger than others. I found that I loved the first story, and from then on I found the stories hit and miss, and as I got further into the collection a lot more of the stories were misses rather than hits.

The second story in this collection was by far my absolute favourite because it was shocking, yet also very clever. Very few of the other stories pulled me in to the extent of the second story. The second one is about a woman who kills her husband and then hides the body in the most shocking and clever way, which was also quite comedic. The ending was left open ended to an extent, but you didn't need anything more from the story. Every other story in the collection ended in a much more messy way, with some being left that open ended I felt that I had no closure at all. Another one of the stronger stories was about a machine that was created to write stories so that authors didn't have to, and how this machine was then used with greedy intent to try and corner the publishing world and make as much money as possible. Of course this is very clever and I am sure Dahl must have been using this as a possible prediction for the future, or else it may have represented some of his thoughts for how terrible the publishing world can be.

Many of the stories were also incredibly dull and I found it a challenge to make myself persevere with reading through them. One story was so long winded, I kept thinking that it would go somewhere, Roald Dahl is a genius of a writer so this has to be going somewhere. Alas it went nowhere and I literally felt like I had wasted forty minutes of my life reading it.

The one thing I will say about this collection though, is that even when the stories are dull it is clear that Roald Dahl could have done some amazing adult novels. Some of the stronger stories in this collection could easily have been filled out and turned into full length novels and they would all have been better off for it. The writing standard in this collection was spot on, the plots and characters just lacked any sort of direction or development due to the length of the stories.

It was clear that Roald Dahl was trying to make a point about human beings and how they react in certain situations, and in that sense you could really see this in every single story. I just couldn't find the message behind the stories a big enough pull to give this book a higher rating than I have. It pains me to rate Roald Dahl so poorly, as he is one of my favourite authors. I really wouldn't recommend this book to you unless you like studying human behaviours, or like me you wish to read every work Dahl ever had published. Overall I just found this collection very disappointing.
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on 13 January 2016
People who remember Roald Dahl as merely the nice man who wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would no doubt be in for a bit of an unpleasant surprise were they to pick up Someone Like You. With more than a tad of the macabre and indeed on occasion the grotesque, in this short story anthology, Dahl reveals the slightly nasty personality which tapped so well into the delight children so often display at incidents of cruelty. The last collection of short fiction that I read was Stella Gibbons' Christmas Cold Comfort Farm - I could hardly have found a sharper contrast than by making this my next choice. While Stella Gibbons' book was a hymn to security and family values, Dahl's entire mission statement appears to be to transport the reader beyond the bounds of what is comfortable.The first story features a bet where a man is manipulated into wagering his daughter's hand in marriage over the correct identification of a bottle of claret, there is also one of Dahl's better known stories Lamb to the Slaughter where a forsaken wife kills her husband with a frozen piece of meat and then cooks the evidence. One of the more painful entries is Galloping Foxley where an old man is tormented by childhood memories when he runs into his erstwhile tormentor - there are more than a few details which suggest a strong autobiographical element. Then there are stories with a slightly more grotesque element, such as Skin where an elderly man with a valuable tattoo is prized more for his body than his own self, or Nude Dimittis where someone is manipulated into an act of barbaric voyeurism. Yet even in the book's more unpleasant moments, we sense the fun that the writer is having, with stories such as The Great Automatic Grammatizator recalling the wilder creative moments found within Danny Champion of the World or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I think that the true beauty of Someone Like You comes from the way in which the narrator draws the reader in, speaking to them confidentially, so often in the guise of the detached observer, so that we are moved to a kind of complicity even when an act of true repugnance is taking place. These stories may be generally fantastical, but we are encouraged to think of them as scenarios which could truly befall someone and in particular, someone like us. We feel genuine discomfort as the voyeur in Nude Dimittus chips away at the painting to reveal the lady's undergarments beneath - I let out a gasp of sympathy at the closing lines of Galloping Foxley - a wince of disgust at the sight of the wife's hand in Man from the South - Roald Dahl reveals himself time and again as a masterful storyteller, his adult fiction no less worthwhile than that which he produced for his younger audience.

There is a certain flavour to the tone in this work that reminds me of Ian Fleming, whose writing I recent suffered through in The Spectre Trilogy, yet despite a similar dismissive attitude towards women and a clear attraction towards the violent, there is greater depth to the motivations of Dahl's characters, which means that they have weathered the decades far more successfully than the dinosaur James Bond. We sense Mary Maloney's blank despair as her husband announces his plans to leave her and so we understand how she comes to wield a piece of frozen lamb against him. We are party to Mr Botibol's frantic logic as he seeks to recoup his losses in A Dip in the Pool and can only shake our heads in rueful dismay as his plan is foiled. So often schemes fall apart in Someone Like You, Dahl seems determined to take us to humanity's very darkest moments.

There is something very particularly powerful about short fiction - with less apparent ammunition, the writer has to draw events together in a much shorter window but the impact is often only the greater for it. Having read a fair bit of Roald Dahl's shorter work, I would point out that it is rare to get to the end of a story without the words 'Oh no' crossing one's mind, but that is in many ways merely a proof of Dahl's precision as a writer. Other than perhaps Dickens, I can think of few others who can equal him as a story-teller. A friend recently expressed surprise when I offhandedly referred to Dahl as a cad but while Someone Like You is a world away from The BFG, it is nonetheless a must-read for connoisseurs of short fiction and a true classic of the genre.
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on 6 August 2011
Not much evidence of Dahl's genius for writing children's books in this cruel collection of slightly dated tales of the unexpected. As HG Wells said, if you read this kind of short story when you are 11 it will stay with you forever. But I'm not 11....

If you grew up in the late 70s you may recall the TV show 'Tales of the Unexpected' which was based on the stories in this book; and they are about as dated in style as 70's Black Forest Gateaux with Liebfraumilch to wash it down.

Much to my surprise, being a fan of Dahl's children's books, he reveals himself here as a slightly second rate wordsmith, good enough to keep you engaged but not someone you would read just for the pleasure of the way words form on the page. What keeps up the interest is the twisted plots he puts together - both in the sense that they are unexpected and that they are rather perverse and dark. I'm not sure that Dahl can have been altogether a nice person. The man who bets his car against someone's finger for example, or the woman who tops her husband with a frozen joint of lamb and lets the police eat the evidence. These stories remind me a lot of science fiction shorts, which hinge on a big reveal and an unexpected and thought provoking outcome. HG Well's compendium, 'The Country of The Blind' is similar in feel but Wells is a far better writer.

One extraordinary point about these stories is how dated the manners and lifestyles of the actors now appear. More dated than characters from Dickens or Trollope I would say. This must be partly because of the world Dahl inhabited but also I suspect because he uses manners and mannerisms to - as he sees it - set up atmosphere rather than to drive forward the plot, so that the feel of period lies heavily on his work (which you may like). The one oddity in his very upper middle class cast of characters is the dog story at the end, which shows an extraordinary knowledge of working class, country greyhound races and techniques for cheating. Dahl was clearly a complex and interesting person. It's a shame he aimed so low in literary terms but perhaps he kept his genius reserved for kids.
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on 2 February 2013
Someone Like You, which was first published in 1953, collects eighteen short stories for adults by Roald Dahl.

There is great variety in terms of setting and technique but two common themes are gambling and cheating. Often these are combined: a bet will be placed and one, or both, of the parties to the bet will try to manipulate the result by underhand means. Like a murder mystery, the set-up of a bet, whose result will be revealed by the end, is a reliable method of creating narrative tension. Nearly all the stories are engaging.

In some tales there is a sense of anti-climax: the fuse burns but the firework fails to explode. In others the ending is entirely satisfactory. My favourites in this collection were Dip in the Pool, which concerns a bet on how long a cruise ship will take to arrive at its destination; the Galloping Foxley, which makes use of Dahl's schooldays at Repton; and The Great Automatic Grammatizator, an irresistable tale about a machine which writes stories mechanically.

(A curious footnote in literary history: the great English writers Roald Dahl and Denton Welch both attended Repton in the 1930s. Entirely predictably, Dahl bullied Welch.)
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