Sophie Dahl Pregnant: Will They Read Her Grandfather's Books?

Former plus-size model and writer Sophie Dahl and her husband singer/songwriter Jamie Cullum got married in January and just announced they are expecting a baby in five months.

It's a big 2010 for them!

Dahl is the granddaughter of the late Roald Dahl, author of so many beloved childhood classics, including my favorite, The Witches. He also wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda.

He was also, according to many reports, a deeply flawed person who was openly anti-semitic and also accused of being racist and sexist among other horrible things.

I wonder how Dahl will deal with this with her child.


I still have every intention of sharing his books with my children, but I have to be honest: I sometimes wish I didn't know about what a rotten person he was. Once I knew, I looked for things in his books I might not have noticed before (the Oompa Loompas were originally African Pygmies, which greatly angered the NAACP).

My own children are culturally Jewish (we are not religious), so it's hard to reconcile his anti-semitism with my own desire to share the books with my children. I will probably do what my father did, which is to tell me the deal and then let me enjoy the books anyway.

Unfortunately, there are many fantastic writers and artists -- Jack Kerouac, for one -- whose personal beliefs left much to be desired. But, for the most part, their work can still stand alone.

For Sophie, it's something else. It's her grandfather. I have dealt with this in my own family and had to cut some people out simply because they were too hateful and stupid to have around my children. Obviously, since her grandfather is dead, she will not have this problem, but surely at some point, her child will hear the stories. I wonder how she will explain.

Can someone hold hateful, racist beliefs and still be a good person?


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