Published in: 1719
Edition read: E-book
The sole survivor of a shipwreck, Robinson Crusoe is washed up on a desert island. In his journal he chronicles his daily battle to stay alive, as he conquers isolation, fashions shelter and clothes, first encounters another human being and fights off cannibals and mutineers. With Robinson Crusoe, Defoe wrote what is regarded as the first English novel, and created one of the most popular and enduring myths in literature. Written in an age of exploration and enterprise, it has been variously interpreted as an embodiment of British imperialist values, as a portrayal of ‘natural man’ or as a moral fable. But above all it is a brilliant narrative, depicting Crusoe’s transformation from terrified survivor to self-sufficient master of his island.
Dull… so dull.
Robinson Crusoe is a bad-luck-Brian, he just can’t catch a break. He gets shipwrecked multiple times in his life, boats are just not his friend, and then eventually he ends up on a deserted island. He fares well though, thrives even, but he is so boring to read about. Also, he finds religion, and that is just so boring to read about.
I know being shipwrecked isn’t meant to be fun, but it’s an adventure book, it’s got all the elements to make it a really fun story, but instead its just blah. Robinson describes in detail how he manages to grow enough food to keep him alive each year. He describes making a boat. He describes being scared of cannibals, which is the right reaction to have of course, but he just talks about them constantly and does nothing. I mean… he can see the mainland from his island. He has built a boat – multiple boats. Wouldn’t you, in 27 years, get enough stones to make the damn crossing? Apparently not. Nevermind that the poor little cannibals in their little primitive boats manage to do it multiple times each year to feast upon long-pork. No, Robinson is just one of those people who is in a bad situation, and instead of really doing something about it, he just kinda exists. Why Defoe was possessed to write such a character I will never understand.
Look, people seem to either really, really, really hate this book and Robinson Crusoe (Goodrread reviewers like to refer to him as a douche and a dick. I tend to agree) or you really, really love this book and declare it a “pioneering work of modern psychological realism”. I think they just threw words together there and went ‘yeah. that sounds fancy. let’s use that”.
Either way, I am firmly on the “not impressed” boat with this one. My only solace was that this was a short book, so the torture ended earlier than with others of a similar nature.
Robinson Crusoe rating: 3.5/10 My favourite part about this book was that it was short… so yeah.
Would I re-read it? Nah.
Who would I recommend it to? People about to be shipwrecked on a deserted island. If nothing else, this book will work as an instructional manual for you on how to set yourself up to survive for 28 years.