Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Going Solo

Going Solo

Roald Dahl
For ages 14 and up
Penguin, 1986   ISBN: 978-0141303109

When Roald gets a job working for the Shell Company in Africa, he is very excited at the prospect of working in such an interesting part of the world. He certainly does not expect to be called upon to be a soldier. But, thanks to the activities of Hilter and his allies, Roald is called upon to help round up the German civilians who are trying to flee British East Africa. Unsure of what to do Roald does his best and almost gets shot in the process.

He quickly decides that the best place for him is the RAF and soon he is a training to become a fighter pilot in a series of very hot very uncomfortable camps. Roald is thrilled when he finally is declared ready to join his squadron but unfortunately, as he is flying to meet them in Mersah Matruh in Egypt, he has a crash. Horribly injured, Roald spends many months recovering and having operations to repair the damage.

Once he is back on his feet and when he is sent to join his squadron in Greece this time, Roald begins to wonder if he might have chosen the wrong branch of the military. With a miniscule number of planes to fly and fight with, Roald and his comrades do their best to hold off the oncoming Germans just long enough so that the British forces can pull out.

With his deliciously refreshing descriptions and often enormously funny accounts of his adventures in Africa and in the RAF, Roald Dahl brings a world that is now gone to life. Colorful descriptions of gin and tonic drinking English expatriates, deadly green mamba snakes, and terrifying air battles in the skies above Greece make this a unique account of one man’s very personal wartime experiences.