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George's Marvellous Medicine (1980)

by Roald Dahl

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6,343751,073 (3.84)82
George decides that his grumpy, selfish old grandmother must be a witch and concocts some marvelous medicine to take care of her.

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» See also 82 mentions

English (73)  Catalan (1)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (76)
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
I don't remember a lot about this one, beyond the fact that I definitely read it as a kid.
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
Well this is a weird little book.

I know Dahl has written a few disturbing stories in his time, but this one has to be right up there with the disturbing-est of them. I’m not comfortable rating it at this time, mostly because it’s entirely possible that kids would like this book more than grownups. I don’t know what kid-me would have made of this, but grownup-me isn’t impressed.

Even the premise is wacky. There is a boy, George, who lives with his parents and his grandmother. The grandmother is old and sick, and because of this, she isn’t always very pleasant. (That seems fair . . . It’s hard to be cheerful when you don’t feel good.) One day, in a moment of either mischief or senility, she mentions that she has certain powers, and the boy gets a little bit scared of these alleged witchy powers that, as far as I can tell, she doesn’t even really have.

So he disposes of her medicine and replaces it with his own concoction, which, wouldn’t you know it, actually has real, non-alleged witchy powers.

Despite being super-gross and potentially lethal (I mean, come on, it’s got antifreeze in it, along with a bunch of other household chemicals), this potion actually puts her in a good mood. Unfortunately, it also alters her physically, and permanently. I won’t spoil too much here, except to say that things don’t end well for her, but nobody else seems to care. Well, the mom cares, a little bit, at first, but she gets over things speedily enough. Old people are a burden anyway. Hooray!

I mean, really? What on earth did I just read?

It’s too disturbing to be funny, it’s too bizarre to be scary, it’s too much of a downer to be whimsical, and the protagonists are too callous for me to enjoy the adventure. There’s one other thing, too. It may be that I’m reading too much into this, but I am irked at the unspoken implication that a woman who isn’t constantly cheerful isn’t worthy to live. Between this and The Witches, in which the magical forces preying on children are always female, I’m a bit disappointed. It’s hard to come to grips with the idea that this came from the same author who wrote such a wholesome adventure in James and the Giant Peach, and who gave us such a calm, dignified, and self-possessed heroine in Matilda. This just feels like a vindictive kid who takes his frustration out on an old, sick, feeble relative.

Again, I’m not exactly the target audience, and I recognize that my adult perspective may be hindering me from appreciating Dahl’s intent.

Still, wow. Not my cup of tea (er, I mean, medicine).
  MuuMuuMousie | Jun 15, 2020 |
In which George doesn't kill his nasty old grandmother, instead he fixes her. Permanently. And with no evidence left over. ( )
  Wanda-Gambling | May 9, 2020 |
A lesser Dahl, but good fun nevertheless. Not perhaps one that ages with the reader as well as others. ( )
  therebelprince | Apr 27, 2020 |
George's Marvellous Medicine is a very short children's book that is enhanced by Quentin Blake's quirky illustrations. George's grandmother isn't very nice so he decides to make her a new medicine with the hopes of improving her temperament. However, things don't go as planned and George manages to concoct several medicines with unusual properties. This is a funny story that little children will probably enjoy - their grandmother's, not so much. ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roald Dahlprimary authorall editionscalculated
Blake, QuentinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"I'm going shopping in the village," George's mother said to George on Saturday morning. "So be a good boy and don't get into mischief."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Average: (3.84)
1 3
1.5 3
2 41
2.5 6
3 247
3.5 54
4 303
4.5 32
5 222

Penguin Australia

6 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141311347, 0141805951, 014132273X, 0141807792, 014133732X, 0141335580

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