Published by Knopf Books For Young Readers on 2001 September 11
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Seven stories of fantasy and fun by the fantastic Roald Dahl.
The Boy Who Talked With Animals - in which a stranded sea turtle and a small boy have more in common than meets the eye.
The Hitchhiker - proves that in a pinch a professional pickpocket can be the perfect pal.
The Mildenhall Treasure - a true tale of fortune found and an opportunity lost.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar - in which a modern-day Robin Hood brings joy to the hearts of orphans - and fear to the souls of casino owners around the world.
Aside from Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the story of Henry Sugar is a delightful read by Roald Dahl. It’s a heartwarming story of a greedy, wealthy man named Henry Sugar who was a gambling addict. And then one day, he finds and reads a report a man who sees without using his eyes. Intrigued by this, he became obsessed to know everything about this man and with thorough research; he was finally convinced that the report was true, that the man is able to see everything even if he is blindfolded.
Because Henry saw that the ability would be pretty useful in his gambling adventures, he stole the book report, shut himself from the world and learned all the things that have been written in the report. After three years, Henry Sugar became successful with his endeavor. He can finally see through playing cards and can even predict the future to a mild extent. He then uses this ability to gamble in a casino and unsurprisingly, he won especially in the game of blackjacks. He was almost happy with this but along with that emotion came a realization, he wasn’t fully happy and he was disgusted with the greed of the other gamblers he’d been playing with. He further observed that while he was training to master the ability to see through things, it also made a very big change in his personality.
And gradually, his ambition in winning all gambling games died out. He suddenly found himself losing his purpose until one day; he remembered the key point of the teachings of the man. That the ability should be used for good and not for selfish ends. After this, Henry is already haunted, haunted by the wrongdoings that he have done. And whenever he looks at himself in the mirror, he could finally see his bodily organs. What scared him most was that he can see a clot in his vein threatening to stop his heart.
The next day, Henry made a wild decision and throw out all his money from the window. This act caused uproar from the town’s people as everyone rushed to collect the thrown money. A police officer came and told Henry that instead of throwing the money away, he should have donated it to the orphanage.
And that made Henry see his real purpose, to help those who are in need and deprived. Henry continued to gamble and continued winning. But he didn’t keep the winnings for selfish reasons and instead gave it to the orphanage to support lots of parentless/abandoned children. Staying true to his purpose, he now travels around the world with lots of disguises to gamble and win.
Henry Sugar is a Roald Dahl through and through. It was funny with outrageous characters but definitely an awesome book for the family. It may have a lot of pleasant exaggeration but the lessons it convey were certainly practical and heartwarming.
I actually found myself laughing and crying at the same time for Henry wasn’t your typical hero. He had been evil and clueless and yet, he never backed down from making a difference into the lives of those poor children.
I’ve learned a lot from Henry. On how he transformed from being immature to mature, from being self-centered to selfless, from being greedy to becoming the most generous person in the planet. And most of all, for reminding us that there’s goodness in each and everyone of us. We just only have to stop and look back. I heart this book!
What do you think about this sort-of-Robinhood story? Did it affect you as much as it did to me? Gosh, I was on the verge of tears when I was on the last chapters of the book.