Anthony Chavez's Reviews > Kidnapped

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
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bookshelves: the-classics

** spoiler alert ** Oh the aptly dubbed "boys" novel. Kidnapped is a delightful adventure story with just the right doses of humour which will make you feel one with the 16 year old naive, yet good natured, thrill seeking protagonist David Balfour.

This bonny tale is set a few years after the Jacobite uprising (1746) in Scotland, when the English were still trying very hard to break the unity of the Highland clans, with the help of the Lowland Scots, who had sworn themselves in as His Majesties subjects. Many of the subplots in the story including the Appin murder, and even the lovable character of Alan Stewart, was based on actual events and persons respectively. So the story has a good bit of history and is generally catalogued in historical fiction, yet I did not know any of this prior to my reading. I am not one of the many people who read this as a child or was assigned it in school, I came into this book blank and was pleasantly surprised.

Stevenson's 'Kidnapped' is simply a great read. In brief, 16-year-old orphan, David Balfour visits his uncle in order to claim an inheritance, left by his father. The uncle, having failed to kill him, arranges for David to be kidnapped by a ship of good-for-nothing villains and taken to the United States to be sold into slavery. While navigating the Scottish coast, the ship collides with another boat and the crew capture the lone survivor, a swashbuckling Highlander called Alan Breck Stewart. David and Alan become friends and escape their captors. On land again, Stewart is accused of murdering a rival clan member and he and David must now cross the Scottish mountains as outlaws and try to reach a safe haven and reclaim David's inheritance his Uncle rudely is withholding.

The descriptions of the Scottish countryside are truly marvelous and the sense of pace and adventure keeps the reader hooked right to the end. I think to most readers the historic aspects of this piece, along with the fact that the couple are being hunted by British redcoats is enough to maintain interest, suspense and pace; however, be forewarned, some may think that there is not a very strong plot, but we must remember that it was originally intended for young boys stepping into adulthood. It was a tale to give boys a sense of the 'big bad world' outside, while entertaining them with kidnapping, duels, ship-wrecks, a murder, and the flight through the highlands to safety, all major ingredients perfect to let any young boys imagination soar high! It is a tale about finding maturity through hardships.

All in all throughout the read I smiled when Uncle Ebeneezer served his gruel, I held my breath when David nearly stepped into the space on the broken stairs, I cringed with the injustice of Ebeneezer trying to cheat David out of his inheritance by selling him into slavery in the American colonies (I also couldn't stop picturing Ebeneezer Scrooge as well, he fit the bill perfectly). Give this one a shot, I look forward to reading more classics by Stevenson.
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Reading Progress

April 15, 2012 – Started Reading
April 15, 2012 – Shelved
April 15, 2012 –
page 120
April 15, 2012 –
page 150
April 18, 2012 –
page 180
April 18, 2012 –
page 180
April 21, 2012 –
page 210
April 24, 2012 –
page 250
April 26, 2012 –
page 290
April 27, 2012 – Finished Reading
April 29, 2012 – Shelved as: the-classics

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Stephen (new) - added it

Stephen I've been meaning to read this for a while. Nice review, Anthony.

Henry Avila Great review Anthony.Read the book a few years ago.Highly enjoyable.Need to do my own review one of these days...

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