I’ve always been a big Roald Dahl fan, both of his books and the books that have been turned into movies. I loved “James and the Giant Peach,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and “Matilda” just to name a few.
I had been meaning to read “Boy” and “Going Solo,” Dahl’s two memoirs, and started them the other day. I was unbelievably surprised to find out that Roald Dahl’s birthday was September 13th (and he would have been 96 years old)! I mean, what kind of coincidence is that?
Anyway, I decided to talk about both books in one post because they are very much related. “Boy” is the story of Dahl’s childhood, and follows his life up to age 20. “Boy” is filled with humorous stories that have inspired many of his books.
For instance, we learn that Dahl attended boarding schools under mean headmasters, and an even nastier matron, who bears a striking resemblance to the Trunchbull from “Matilda.”
Dahl spent his early elementary days, aged 7-9, obsessed with a neighborhood candy shop and the Gobstoppers inside it (inspiration for Willy Wonka?), and even had his hand (ah, I made a pun that will only be recognizable if you read the book!) in a prank on the candy shopkeeper that he calls the Great Mouse Plot of 1924.
Dahl was also lucky enough to go to a boarding school that Cadbury would send samples to in order to find out what kind of chocolates young boys enjoyed!
“Boy” is a fabulous read, with many stories that can easily be linked to some of his most popular novels.
I highly recommend reading “Boy” is you want a humorous look at the youth of one of the most famous and well-loved children’s authors.
“Going Solo,” on the other hand, would be better for those people who wanted to know more about Dahl’s military life, which contained fewer references and story lines related to the books we grew up with.
“Going Solo” was about Roald Dahl’s experiences in the military, with exploits about flying planes and secret missions. While I liked the book, I did get bored with the military aspect towards the end. If you like Roald Dahl and enjoy reading about the military, you might enjoy “Going Solo.” Otherwise, stick with “Boy,” which is a read that I think many more people would enjoy.
What is your all time favorite Roald Dahl story?