‘What a lot of hairy faced men there are around nowadays’
Mr Twit is a foul and smelly man with bits of cornflake and sardine in his beard.
Mrs Twit is a horrible old hag with a glass eye.
Together they make the nastiest couple you could ever hope not to meet.
Down in their garden, the Twits keep Muggle-Wump the monkey and his family locked in a cage. But not for much longer, because the monkeys are planning to trick the terrible Twits, once and for all . . .
What I thought:
Even reading this again as an adult these two characters are still completely revolting. And Dahl sets them up as such from early on, especially when he explains how Mr Twit kept food for later in her beard and would often have food in from previous weeks/months in there (it’s quite clear that he personally hates beards and while reading this you can’t help but share in his hatred). Mrs Twits ugly personality changing her outward appearance is a great shorthand and a way of putting down in words the way that the way people look like to you when you get to know them. This time it isn’t a mental shift from the person watching but instead a physical change from the person being observed.
I also enjoyed the reference to his other books with the Monkey named Muggle-Wump and the Roly-Poly bird both appearing in the ‘Enormous Crocodile’. Plus the fact that the English birds can’t understand the monkeys’ warnings because they are from Africa and therefore speak ‘African’ and not ‘English’. It’s slightly uncomfortable with the generalisation of but still has some broken logic behind it and I remember loving that aspect as a kid.
My main memories of reading this book as a kid is from when I was in yr5 (age 10) when my teacher read it to us and then us making puppets and a small stage to show off to the younger years. It meant when I really enjoyed rereading this as it reminded me of the fun we had in the last week of school.
The tricks that they play on each other are vile, from disguising worms as spaghetti to making chairs and walking sticks taller to make it look like she’s shrinking. By the end when they finally get their comeuppance you can’t help but cheer for the animals as they flip everything onto the ceiling and make them stand on their head. Even compared to the kids in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ it’s a bit extreme. Shrinking out of existence is a polite way of saying ‘they died’ for kids. But at the same time in Charlie they are only kids and it explained that their faults are from the mistakes of their parents and the kids and the parents have a chance to change their ways. Mr and Mrs Twit have been horrible for years and have clearly refused to change and have potentially even got worse as they grew older so dying seems fair. Extreme but fair.
Why I read it
I wanted to finish off my Roald Dahl marathon with something that I had such fond memories of.
Mr and Mrs Twit are vile and make me physically recoil in horror a couple of times. But I still enjoyed reading it, even if part of that is because of the association that I have with it.
Would I recommend? Yup. It’s an easy read but a fun and disgusting one
Popsugar: About a villain/antihero, book that you borrowed/given as a gift
Read Harder: One hitting
This is officially the end of my Roald Dahl marathon and I had great fun reading all these classics again. As always please let me know what you think and if my review has made you want to read/reread this classic.
P.S The next book is ‘My Name is Victoria’ by Lucy Worsley