(Roald Dahl Autobiography #2)
Part 1: boys of a childhood – here
The second part of Roald Dahl’s extraordinary life story. Here he is grown up: first in Africa, then learning to be a wartime fighter pilot. It is a story that is funny, frightening and full of fantasy – as you would expect. -Goodreads
“A life is made up of a great number of small incidents and a small number of great ones. An autobiography must therefore, unless it is to become tedious, be extremely selective, discarding all the inconsequential incidents in one’s life and concentrating upon those that have remained vivid in the memory.” – R.D.
“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.”
It’s amazing how little we know of each other. Before I continue I’d like to point out I never met Roald Dahl, but want I mean is we never truly know each other or experience the same thing as others. I always thought Roald Dahl was this great writer creating stories of adventures of giant fruit, finding families in strangest of places, of courage and taking you on adventures.
The story of the man behind these books is amazing in itself. And it made me quite thankful for what I have and to realise anything is possible. From a young man who went off to Africa to work for the Shell company, meeting some characters along the way to the seeing a lion carrying his host’s cook’s wife away in his mouth, to creeping into a house to catch the fatal green mamba and then at the age of 23 he goes off to enlist in the Royal Air Force (RAF) to fly planes, and to be one of the tallest pilots at over 6 foot tall. Not only that after being involved in a serous accident which nearly blinds him, he recovers enough to be declared fit again and carries on to help with the war effort.
One of the things I loved about this book were the letters to his Mother, at times he can’t discuss what is happening incase the letter is intercepted but it is clear how much he cares for his family from what is written and how much emotion was there at the end when he was sent home due to the headaches not enabling him to fly anymore.
Roald Dahl descriptions of his training and moments in the plane, puts you right up there with you. I don’t know if there are any other pilot stories from the war there’s probably millions, but to think what those young men did for us flying those planes from such a young age.
To spend all those hours alone in the air, to have so much responsibility on young soldiers and what’s more not eating or drinking for hours, and being so far away from home, especially if you were injured. obviously everyone was scared even the people in higher positions, and when one of the officers told Dahl ‘just to get into the plane and try it out, and do a few circuits’ because the cockpit had only one seat, goodness knows what was going through their minds in the first days of flying planes.
I have read very few biographies, but to read one of such a brilliant writer and to see what he went through all those years ago, makes me realise how as a reader how lucky we are to have his writing, his poems and amazing stories. If it was not for his determination and love of his family, we may never have got to read some fantastic pieces of work, and of course the teaming up with illustrator Quentin Blake is just magical.
I would like to finish by just saying a big Thank you to Roald Dahl for the legacy he left in his work. For children young and old to enjoy what he left behind.
And now I’m going to find out more about this great man and seek out the book from the library -Storyteller: the life of Roald Dahl
Thank you for reading