Here's another classic novel I didn't know enough about. Or, at least, not as much as I should – I have an English degree, you know. I knew it was about a guy who was trapped on a deserted island, and that was about it. Wait. that is about it. Most of it, anyway.
Robinson Crusoe is about a young man in his twenties (and later in his fifties) who wants to go adventuring at sea. His father tells him it's a dumb idea and that he'll be cursed if he does. So Crusoe goes anyway, of course, and meets with seafaring disaster after seafaring disaster. He finally ends up with his own plantation in Brazil, but he and the other landowners get greedy and decide to make a journey to Africa for some slaves. Since Crusoe has experience with boats, he's to head the mission. Except that he doesn't get too far away before a great storm tears his boat to pieces, and he ends up the only survivor on a deserted island. So begins the bulk of the book: he learns to live there. He doesn't know how to do much, but he figures it out. And there's a lot about God and how Crusoe ends up thankful that he is there rather than with the rest of society. And there are cannibals.
I really didn't think I'd finish this novel on time (I'm going for fifty again!), if at all. I was bored for the vast majority of it. How people think middle schoolers will love this one is beyond me. It seems like an argument in favor of abridged novels. Here's an example. Crusoe tells his story of landing on the island and getting what he can off the ship in first person. The whole story, in detail. Then, he's like, Oh yeah, I kept a journal until I ran out of ink. Here it is. So then you get to read the whole story again. Sigh. Granted, that's the only time it's that ridiculous, but Daniel Defoe definitely qualifies as long-winded. Yesterday, I was around 60% (I read it on my Kindle, and I have no concept of how long that book is), and, determined to finish it today, I said I'd read 20% a day. I got near 80%, and it finally got interesting, so I finished it last night. I won't spoil it for you if you don't know how it ends, though (hint, hint) Crusoe is pretty obvious about it with all the direct references to after, and there's the writing about it in first person past tense, and all.
Oh! Remember that stupid, unnecessary wolves scene in The Day after Tomorrow? Where they were on the ship and attacking everyone and bad CGI and such? Yeah, well if you liked that, Robinson Crusoe has its own stupid, unnecessary wolves scene you can look forward to!
Wait. Why did I give this thing three stars on Goodreads? I guess it's because it didn't suck that badly, and it didn't make me mad like Madame Bovary did. After the last few novels, I think I'll go with something more recent. Vonnegut, maybe?