One more book crossed off my Classics Challenge list last night. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe was the oldest book on my list (Moll Flanders being the second oldest and my next read). So here are my pre- and post-read thoughts:
Pre-read thoughts: This was published in 1719! That was 294 years ago and people still read this. Seriously, do we really have any contemporary authors that are capable of 200+ year longevity? If you say Stephenie Meyer I will track you down and punch you in the throat. Focus! Thoughts about this book other than the almost 300 years that have passed since it was published…Dude gets stranded on an island for years and years. As long as he doesn’t start talking to a volleyball named Wilson, I’m good with this.
Post-read thoughts: STOP GETTING ON BOATS, DUDE! This should have occurred to Robinson well before the ill fated trip that left him on the island. I like the undertone of “will to survive” and figuring out how to tame the goats, etc. I found it a little blasé about killing the feral cats and the other things he found unnecessary or bothersome. I’m cool with him killing what he needed to eat or for safety, but randomly killing stuff and the multiple mentions of having done so came across as superior and egotistical. Overall, I thought RC had a pretty huge entitlement and ego factor going on despite his come to Jesus conversion. He came across as selfish to some degree. I’m sure in 1719 and beyond, the causal use of people, animals, and things was common, but I found his treatment of Xury, the various people he befriended or partnered with, the cats, the goats, the mutineers, etc. to be there simply to make his life better. Interestingly, there is somewhat of a religious spin on this. Basically, RC felt if he was properly and diligently praying, God was providing for him to make surviving easier. I found it parallel to tossing virgins in the volcano to appease the gods for a good crop. I couldn’t really figure out the cannibals…were they only coming to RC’s island to eat other humans? Didn’t they eat human flesh on their own island? There was a span of like 15-16 months where they didn’t come to eat so if they didn’t eat human flesh on their island what the heck were they eating? If they were eating humans on their island, why spare the Spanish dudes? Friday was kinda cool, but if I were writing the story, Friday would finally break bad and eat RC for being an ass.
Random–I did a little research on the book after reading it and find it somewhat funny the first editions were published with RC as the author making folks think it was a true story…maybe it was and Defoe decided to capitalize on it?