Review: The Demon Dentist by David Walliams
“The New Roald Dahl”. That’s what they’re saying about David Walliams.
He’s good – he’s great in fact, and as a writer for children he does have a certain similarity to Roald Dahl. His books are funny, fast, clever and imaginative.
However, whilst reading a Roald Dahl novel, you feel as though you’re on a roller-coaster and not even the author knows where it’s going to end or what will happen next, a David Walliams book isn’t like that. This author knows exactly where he’s taking you, and you get the feeling that he’s planned every page and every plot twist in advance.
Probably Walliams’ work in the tightly plotted world of TV drama and comedy has made him really think about plots, and how they work, and he really seems to know precisely what he’s doing in constructing his stories…
The Demon Dentist is no exception. The plot moves along at quite a rate, the characters are sharply drawn and recognisable, and they behave in realistic (and and the same time hilarious) ways.
Walliams does take a risk by combining an utterly absurd, surrealist main plot with a tragically real subplot which could have come straight out of a Mike Leigh film. Introducing black lung disease and coal pit closures into a story that’s basically about an evil tooth fairy takes a careful hand but Williams manages to keep the two ideas in balance most of the time without it feeling odd.
I did worry that its gruesome descriptions of dental work might worry my 7year old, but he was completely happy with all of it even though he was in the middle of a three month course of treatments at the time.
The children and I would recommend this book and any of David Williams’ other works to anyone.