Roald Dahl was born to Norwegian parents in 1916. He was born in Wales and spent his childhood in England. Dahl received his education at Repton and, at the age of 18, he left England to work with Shell Petroleum Company in Africa. He later worked as an RAF pilot and became an author in his post-retirement years.  Dahl is one of the most well-known children’s writers, whose works are popular among kids all over the world. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Magic Finger and Matilda are some of his all-time bestsellers. Dahl died in 1990, at the age of 74.


A life is made up of a great number of small incidents and a small number of great ones.

Going Solo is an action-packed autobiography of Roald Dahl. It is a sequel to  Boy: Tales of Childhood, which is the first installment in his autobiographical account. The book is filled with fun, fantasy and fright as it puts forth a vivid description of the author’s courageous deeds and incredible feats.

The captivating episodes in the book take us through the life and adventures of a youthful Roald Dahl. He talks about the experiences he had at his first job in the Shell Company in Africa, his wartime exploits as an RAF pilot in the Second World War, and some of his most unforgettable African Safaris. Going Solo is also replete with random life lessons, cleverly interspersed with the author’s experiences.

I was already beginning to realize that the only way to conduct oneself in a situation where bombs rained down and bullets whizzed past, was to accept the dangers and all the consequences as calmly as possible. Fretting and sweating about it all was not going to help.

Dahl gives the readers an unfiltered account of the times of World War II, when he was young and daring. He leaves no details to the readers’ imagination as he describes his training in the air force, the wars he fought and how he survived ghastly plane crashes. He relates each incident in an interesting and humorous manner, true to his trademark writing style.

The stories span three continents. This is because the author spent the prime years of his life dodging black mamba snakes and grappling with lions in Africa, fighting the Battle of Athens in Greece, and as a witness to the creation of the Zionist society in Palestine.

The narration is crisp and entertaining, with just about the right mix of wit and drama. Dahl leaves the readers spellbound with his hair-raising experiences working in the air force, his African escapades, and his life in the Middle East.

Ameya Rating:

This masterpiece from children’s all-time favorite author merits an outstanding score of 4.5 stars out of a possible 5. All the stories are written in first person, giving the readers an insight into some riveting adventures through the author’s eyes. Dahl breathes life into the many characters that cross paths with him during the early stages of his life. Each character has an interesting backstory and played their part in shaping the character of young Dahl.

We would recommend you to start with Boy, as it narrates the author’s childhood experiences. Going Solo, on the other hand, deals with Dahl’s life as a young adult.

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