I'm a winner! Really! I did not have to click on any flashing boxes. Mr. Nonanon, the secretive spouse of the even more mysterious Nonanon, pulled my name from a hat, and I received free copies of Boy by Roald Dahl and The Life and Times of the Last Kid Picked by David Benjamin for the next Book Menage II at Nonfiction Readers Anonymous, which will be started September 4. I have just finished reading both, and I am saving my comments for the upcoming online book discussion.
(OK, I will let one comment slip. I found that book by Benjamin took a little longer to read than I expected because I kept stopping to think about my own teenage baseball and football experiences. This is not a complaint.)
I will instead tell you a little about Going Solo by Roald Dahl, which is the sequel to Boy. In this short memoir, the always entertaining Dahl travels to East Africa in the late 1930s to take a job with the Shell Oil Company. His misadventures begin on the outbound ship where he meets many eccentric Europeans, who challenge his innocence with their abundant misbehavior. While driving around Kenya, Tanganyika, and Mozambique, Dahl meets snakes, lions, and a servant who will gladly kill his enemies for him should he just ask, which he does not. Once World War II begins, he joins the colonial military and is asked to arrest (with little help) all his German neighbors; seeing the impossibility of the task, he balks. (Read the book to see how he solves his problem.) He is eventually inducted into the Royal Air Force and crashes in the Libyan Desert. I won't tell you what happens then, but he does survive, which is obvious because he went on the write Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach.
Many readers will find Going Solo is hilarious.
Dahl, Roald. Going Solo. New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 1986. ISBN0374165033.