Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Do I even need to summarize the story for you? Come on, you know this one – it’s Castaway, only not as good. Robinson Crusoe gets shipwrecked on an abandoned island (and here, “abandoned” means “no white people”) and has to learn how to survive. What follows are several hundred pages about carpentry and farming.

The story is actually kind of interesting, because who doesn’t enjoy a good survival story? However, the plot description provided on the back of my copy was grossly misleading, because it says that Crusoe is shipwrecked and “forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe.” Uh, actually that’s the opposite of true. Crusoe is shipwrecked, yes, but the whole damn ship is floating just offshore after the storm, and is completely intact (to the point that two cats and a dog who had been onboard during the storm are still alive when Crusoe swims out there to take all the supplies, which are also in pristine condition). That was mainly what surprised me while I was reading this: how damn easy it was for Crusoe to survive. He had an entire ship full of supplies, fresh water, wild goats to domesticate, three shelters, and the cannibals didn’t even come to his side of the island! Jesus, anyone could have survived on that island. And if they could manage to get a native to work as their slave, so much the better.

Naturally, the book is colonial as all get out, what with the whole Friday thing and Crusoe’s attitude towards the natives who occasionally trespass on “his” island (but to be fair, he also hates Spaniards, because they’re Catholic.) So, I guess I was glad I finally read this, although I have absolutely no interest in reading it ever again.

Verdict: three out of five stars


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