I was given Going Solo when my family and I visited a family friend some time ago. Since they knew I like Roald Dahl books, they gave me his autobiography. Even though it was written by my favorite author, it took some time for me to read them for the first time. I regret that I didn’t do it sooner. This book is, as you would expect, about Roald Dahl when he was a young adult.
The book starts with Dahl on a boat to Africa. Right before this, he decided that he wanted to work for Shell because he wanted to see the world. Shell being the gas company. However, his plans get interrupted by war: World War II. In his words, “A life is made up of a great number of small incidents and a small number of great ones.” The book detailed many other things as well like the eccentricity of the people around him and other interesting bits of life. Some examples include the snake man, an Englishman (in Africa) who can catch snakes, a stray lion, and a moment in war he described as a piece of cake: firmly strapped into the cockpit of his Gladiator with a fractured skull and a bashed-in face and a fuzzy mind while the crashed plane was going up in flames on the sand of the western desert. This book was very easy to connect to because even though it was the story of his life, it was like reading fiction, not because it wasn’t believable but rather because it was so easy to understand. I then wonder whether his books were that good because life sure was. This book was quite the page turner and if you decide to read it, I hope you think so, too.
One thing I liked about the book with that road all included maps of where he went, which works well with the book since he traveled a lot because of the war. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to see a different perspective of World War II. If you want to have a look through the window into Roald Dahl's life read his autobiography, illustrated by Quentin Blake to find out more.
Going Solo by Roald Dahl. Puffin Books, 1986. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!