I feel obliged to adore all classic books simply because they’re classics, and although that statement works well for Perfume or Lord of the Rings, I didn’t love Robinson Crusoe as much as I would have liked. Perhaps it was because Crusoe, who survives a shipwreck and is stranded on an island for 28 years, isn’t actually stranded until 1/3 of the way through the novel. Or perhaps it’s because Defoe goes into such great detail about Crusoe’s time on the deserted island that it made me a little sleepy.
Crusoe spends 28 years building his own fortress on the island (mostly from things he salvaged from his destroyed ship) by taming animals, gathering food, and learning to hunt. Although detail is needed for the reader to envision Crusoe’s predicament, I often skimmed certain sections of a page because I didn’t feel like reading another explanation of how Crusoe grew his crops and organised them.
I must applaud Defoe on his ability to skip ahead of time without jolting the reader. Much like how Suskind’s Perfume jumped ahead seven years, Defoe is able to skip a couple of years in one line of prose, and the reader rolls with it. But then again, after reading the ’28 years’ in the blurb, the reader is probably aware that some sections of the book are going to skip ahead a few years.
My Score: 7/10