Going Solo has that famous Roald Dahl magic about it. The story contains a fantastic combination of humor and breathless adventure, but every episode is absolutely true.
The book opens when Dahl sets sail for Africa, where he was headed to work for Shell Company. You wouldn't believe the quirky people he meets on board, such as Major Griffiths and his wife, who got their daily exercise by jogging on deck . . . totally nude!
Once settled into his job, Dahl had opportunities to go on safari into some of the most beautiful and pristine places on earth. Of course, Africa was not without its trials, such as trying to stay clear of the deadly mamba snakes.
After war was declared, Dahl joined the Royal Air Force and was taught to fly. His exploits as a fighter pilot were full of harrowing adventure, including an emergency landing in the desert in which he was severely injured. After months in an Egyptian hospital, he was told he wouldn't be able to fly again, but Dahl proved the doctors wrong. He participated some very scary missions, including an air fight over Greece during which he lost several close friends and barely made it out alive, after his Hurricane monoplane was hit.
Eventually though, Dahl's injuries took their toll, and he was granted a medical discharge and sent back to England to be reunited with his mother.
From start to finish, the autobiography remains accessible to children and adults alike, thanks to Dahl's conversational style. I loved all the very cool extras in Going Solo too: maps, Dahl's own black and white photographs, letters, telegrams, military documents, and more. If you haven't read Going Solo, you should take the time to read this fascinating (and sometimes funny!) personal account of Roald Dahl's life in Africa and his experiences as a fighter pilot for the RAF.
GIVEAWAY: As part of the month-long celebration of Roald Dahl's 100th birthday, Penguin Young Readers/Puffin is releasing redesigned paperback covers of 15 of his books. What's a party without a gift? Penguin is giving away one set of the paperback collection (15 titles) plus a special edition Roald Dahl tote bag to one person. The publishers will be picking the winner and sending out the prize pack. All you have to do to enter is fill out the following Rafftercopter form. Many other book blogs are also celebrating this week and next, so you can find additional entry forms on their blogs. Good luck, and if you win, you'll be hearing from Penguin Young Readers!
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