The World According to Renee

Views, Reviews, Short Stories and More…

Switch Bitch: A Review

This post contains mentions of rape and suicide. Please seek professional help if these trigger unwanted thoughts or feelings for you. 

Who doesn’t love Roald Dahl? Who wasn’t enthralled with fantastical stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda? I was stoked to find Switch Bitch, a collection of 4 short stories for adults written by the legendary storyteller.

(An aside: I found this copy at Brisbane’s Lifeline Bookfest. It was sold to me for 50 cents as they mistakenly thought it was a children’s book. They could not have been more wrong.)

The Visitor

A man arrives home to find twenty eight volumes of his (presumably deceased) uncle’s diaries. Uncle Oswald details his global quests to bed women and collect interesting arachnid specimens. The story largely follows Oswald’s exploits as a visitor to a grand castle in the Middle East when his car breaks down and his attempts to bed a mother-daughter combo.

If you’ve ever read any other Roald Dahl story, he loves a twist at the end and these short stories are no exception.

It’s quite a good tale with an amusing twist at the end.

The Great Switcheroo

Unfortunately the next three stories are appalling. All four stories were once published in Playboy magazine, which gives you an idea of the target demographic and the fantasy delights held by its readers.

Two men concoct a plan to have sex with each other’s wives, without the wives knowing. This is rape. It’s not ok. It is not consensual if one party is mislead to believe she’s with her husband.

I felt physically ill reading this story. This was not the storyteller I thought I knew.

The Last Act

Anna has just lost her husband of twenty-something years. He’s the only man she’s ever been with. She’s suicidal but throws herself into work. On a business trip interstate, she calls an old flame and, of course, they end up in bed.

She freaks out and leaves him to his own devices while she presumably considers taking her own life again in the bathroom.

Atrocious. The biggest problem with this story apart from the suicide was the description of Anna. She’s a housewife who didn’t know any better. She’s seemingly portrayed as being in control but she lives for patriarchal approval.


Wow. Saved the worst for last.

We meet Uncle Oswald again. This time he’s investing in a perfume guaranteed to drive any man wild. Literally. Once a woman applies this magic liquid, any man within a couple of metres will be overcome by instinct and want to mate with her, whether she’s ready or not. The perfume is called Bitch, as if it is the woman’s fault she’s about to be raped.

Uncle Oswald plans to spray some on the neck of a woman who will be standing next to the President of the United States as he makes a national address, with the idea that POTUS will rape the woman on live television, be impeached and ousted as President.

Yes, this is rape. On national television. Naturally there is a twist and this idea never comes to fruition, but that is not the point. This is a vile situation and a little too close to current world affairs.

This is not the Roald Dahl I’ve loved since childhood. This is a collection of horrific stories which have no place in this world. His master storytelling is, as always, apparent. But the material is vile. Steer well away from this at all costs.


June 25, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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