Feb 06, 12
Read in February, 2012
** spoiler alert **
Unfortunately, the charm of this book was completely overshadowed by it's out of dated-ness for me. As an avid animal lover, this is probably one of the worst and most frustrating books I have ever read. I was looking forward to it as classic literature, but I'm afraid it's simply past it's time. Literally every single page some kind of animal was shot and killed, sometimes cruelly and usually unnecessarily. Also, the attitude towards animals showed profound ignorance both for their ability to be "tamed" and their natural behaviors. I understand that animals were a source of food that was necessary to their survival, but the attitude and frequency with which the author wrote about it was offensive to me. At first I was able to keep perspective on why he was writing in that fashion, but when they had planted and farmed and preserved enough food for a lifetime and kept shooting every new species they encountered I just got sick of it. Every once in a while the narrator states that he has no wish to cause a creature unnecessary suffering, but then he essentially creates an enormous glue trap for a band of monkeys so they become entangled and imprisoned, and sets his dogs on them! A "tortoise" is found swimming in the sea amidst one of their boats, so of course they harpoon it, and it tries to swim to land for safety?? I'm pretty sure the "island" they landed on was the "island" of Africa! Lions, buffalo, onagers, penguins, jackals, ostriches, antelope, bears.... they all can't live on a small island together, that's for sure. Oh, and of course all snakes are evil. The list of ridiculous statements goes on and on and on. Too much for me to enjoy this book.
Also, I'm certainly not used to everything going RIGHT when people get shipwrecked. They just HAPPENED to find every food, substance, and habitat that they needed. It just made the story more ridiculous.