Book Review: Biggles In Africa by Capt. W.E. Johns

What: Biggles In Africa (Biggles No.11)
Who: Captain W.E. Johns
When: Published August 1936
This book is good clean fun!

This is the first Biggles book that I’ve ever read. I remember them in the library when I was a kid but they never really caught my attention. So it’s quite unusual that I decided to have a go at one as an adult. This was first published in the 60’s I believe. I would have LOVED this as a young reader.

I threw this book onto my phone and read it in between my regular reading during downtime at work over about 3 months. It was a very easy book to come back to after being away from it for days or even weeks. The plot is pretty straightforward and the characters easy to grasp and this makes for a nice story, albeit a little ‘juvenile’. I gather that this is the target audience, however.

I found the story really fun. Three jovial friends heading off to Africa to rescue the lost son of a wealthy gentleman. There are aeroplane rides, fierce savages, rampaging rhinos, snarling lions and a host of other neat predicaments the chaps find themselves in, all the while keeping the true British ‘stiff upper lip’.

I also found the ‘non-political-correctness’ quite refreshing as I often think we live in a crazy world in this regard. There is no disrespect intended as this is how things were back in the days when this story is set. Check this out:

Biggles’ eyes glinted and his lips came together in a tight line. “You insolent rascal; you talk to me like that and I’ll thrash the skin off your back. Be off, and sharp’s the word!” 

And:

“WHAT happened to those niggers at the finish?’” asked Biggles as the machine ran to a standstill on aerodrome. 

Absolute gold. It’s phrasing like this that make it such innocent fun and a real giggle in places.

A great story (if predictable) and fun characters. I’ve given it a rating based on what the story is and who it’s written for.

I’m glad I read it and I’ll be sure to read some more Biggles in between the more serious reading.

8/10 

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