Dahl from an Adult’s Perspective: George’s Marvellous Medicine

Coffee is definitely my marvellous medicine.

George’s Marvellous Medicine is the second Roald Dahl book I am rereading as an adult, the first was Esio Trot. Esio Trot was weird, but George’s Marvellous Medicine was definitely weirder.

George’s Grandma is an old, grumpy woman, who is regularly rude to George. She often questions him, criticises him and even scares him. After his parents leave him in charge of administering her grandmother’s medicine, George comes up with a wonderful idea of creating his own medicine. Since the current medicine was obviously not making her any happier, he thought he could mix up something a bit more interesting.

He rushes off to the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom and even the garage to find ingredients for this medicine! After boiling it, mixing it and even adding some paint, he feeds it to his grandma and the results are nothing short of marvellous.

She grows, big, big, big and keeps growing, which is exactly what she told him not to do.

“Never grow up… always down”

Eventually, her head breaks through the roof and George’s parents arrive just in time for the mother to see that her mother was now a giant! The father, an opportunist and hard working man, used George’s medicine on his farm animals. Just like that, he could feed an army.


He insisted George made more, unfortunately, little George could not remember what he added. Using the trial and error method, they tried different concoctions, and eventually found one which did the exact opposite. Granny wanted some, assuming it was a cup of tea, she drank the batch and shrunk so small, that she disappeared completely.

The end.

Uh… everyone is just okay with the grandmother disappearing completely?

I remember reading this as a child and absolutely loving it. I love it now, just as much, but for entirely different reasons. Back then, I wondered whether I should create a marvellous medicine using my own ingredients, and I did, I called it motion potion. I was happy that George stood up for himself and the granny villain was dealt with.

As an adult, I do think the punishment did not fit the crime. Ha! But I loved it anyway. It’s clever and impossible not to laugh at. Children everywhere should read this, provided you make sure they realise that it is all just for fun.


Ps. The illustrations scare my husband.

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