This post contains affiliate links. I haven’t read Roald Dahl’s first biography, Boy: Tales of Childhood, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the second part of his biography. Going Solo by Roald Dahl covers his life in his twenties, from the time he worked for Shell Oil Company in Dar es Salaam through his time as a pilot in World War II.
About Going Solo by Roald Dahl
This book is packed full of adventure. Dahl lived a life very few of us can even imagine.
The first few chapters of the book are about his time in Dar es Salaam. He was there in the late 1930s, which seems brave to travel so far from England during that time. While there, he learned Swahili and had quite the adventures. One story I was particularly amused and horrified by included a lion who grabbed the cook’s wife and carried her, in his mouth, into the jungle! Many of Dahl’s stories in Dar es Salaam include run ins with wild animals and reptiles.
His adventures in Dar es Salaam grow more serious as political tensions rise leading up to World War II. There is a gruesome beheading include in this section of the story.
Eventually, Dahl leaves Dar es Salaam to make his way to join the RAF. He trains to become a pilot even though he’s too tall for the plane’s windshield to cover his face. Once he joins World War II, the stories become a bit darker, as you can imagine. Honestly, I wonder how he even survived the war. He repeatedly found himself in situations where the odds were heavily stacked against him, and yet he was one of the lucky ones.
My Thoughts on the Book
We read this book as part of PB & J Girl’s Sonlight Level J curriculum. The cover says this book is for 7 years old and up, but I’d recommend it for ages 10 and up because of some graphic descriptions throughout.
I’ve read plenty of World War II biographies, and this one is every bit as good as many I have read.
In addition, I enjoyed the letters home to his mother that were interspersed throughout the book. He even dedicates the book to his mother.
I give Going Solo by Road Dahl 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.