Review: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Robinson_Cruose_1719_1st_editionThis is the ultimate Survivor story – a man shipwrecked on a deserted island, where he lives out most of his life. Luckily for him, the island is stocked with animals and edible food that he can eat and grow. Also luckily for him, the ship’s wreckage is within reach, and he is able to pillage most of the goods inside to build his island home.

I found Defoe’s writing to be tedious. One sentence had many commas or semicolons; it went on for a long time; rambled a bit; got to a point; meandered over to another point; finally, blissfully ending. If you don’t believe me, consider that the original title for this book was (I am not making this up, unless Wikipedia is wrong): The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. I found myself aided a bit by the chapter titles to be able to skim through some of the monotony. Each chapter title goes over what happens in the chapter, such as “I Am Captured by Pirates” or “I Befriend a Volleyball” or whatever. (Wait, was that in the book?!)


It got more interesting when Friday came along. Friday is part of a group of savage, Fine Young Cannibals who Crusoe saves from being eaten. Friday then becomes his loyal sidekick, and is taught to be more civilized and eat things like goats instead of people. IT’S PEEEEEEEEOPLLLLLLLE!!!!!!!

I can see why this has become a classic – despite the fact that most of the plot takes place on an island and has one character, it also explores some religious concepts and of course, not to sound cliche, but the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.

I read this for the “Back to the Classics” challenge, and now my list consists of two Russian classics, Anna Karenina and Crime and Punishment. It may be a while before you see another classic review from me 😉


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