Maia B.'s Reviews > Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
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Dec 03, 11

bookshelves: boring, could-not-finish, historical, too-long

This is a classic?

It completely astonished me. I was bowled over. I couldn't believe it. Why was it so astonishing? Because it manages to make something which sounds exciting and fascinating into the dullest, most boring piece of claptrap ever to have been written.

It can be condensed into three clauses: "I came to an island, I survived on the island, I went away from the island." Yup. That's pretty much the height and width and breadth of this book. Came, lived, left. With the addition, of course, of the tedious, long-winded, 100% emotion-less Crusoe himself. I was praying for the "savages" to eat him - although eating people was not, and still isn't, a habit of the native people of the Caribbean islands.

For some reason, our good Robinson is so obsessed with ships and the sea that he keeps taking long ocean journeys, despite the fact that every one so far has ended in catastrophe. (Somehow though, he doesn't die. Unfortunately.) Then when he's set himself up as a plantation owner or something, he decides he has to buy another ship and so he does and they set off and then he gets marooned, to the delight of everyone over in England. (Who wouldn't be delighted to be rid of this soggy poltroon?)

Twenty-four years later...twenty-four agonizingly long and boring years, several of which are summed up like this: "I spent eight years building my canoe. The next two I spent doing something else."...he leaves the island. There's no emotion here, either. Crusoe is the singularly most unfeeling person ever. He has no characteristics at all.

The only exciting thing to happen in the entire book is his encounter with the so-called "savages." First, though, he sees a footprint in the sand and completely freaks out, thinking it's "the devil" - how he came to this ridiculous conclusion I don't know, it's not explained - but when the native people do turn up, he captures one of them, names him "Friday", teaches him English and makes him a Christian. This kindly, loving, loyal person somehow does not realize he's being brainwashed, and instead stays a servant to Crusoe forever. Ummm...for some reason or another, I do not think this was how most Englishman/native relationships went.

Crusoe is also so dumb that when he sees the footprint in the sand, he fails to take into account that it might be his foot, and also why there's only one of it. This is never explained, actually. It's just a footprint. A solitary footprint. You see, the native people of these islands can fly long distances, land on one foot, and then fly on again.

There's no excuse for a book like this. There just isn't.
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