Book Review: The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

June 30, 2014

About:
The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is a novel published in 1719. The first edition credits the fictional character of Robinson Crusoe as its author leading readers to believe that it is a travelogue.

  • 448 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393964523

Book Reivew The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

My rating for The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe – 5

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Thoughts:
I read the abridged version of The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe as a kid so figured it was about time to pick up the novel and read it again. This novel is amazing on many levels and, as an adult, Defoe’s story takes on multiple angles.

As many adults, I first thought that there is no need to read this book again. I read it once and the plot is well known as the ultimate survival story which has been recreated in numerous books and movies. However, this book is amazing, a definite must read not only as literature, but as an exciting adventure story.

Defoe writes an excellent narrative describing Crusoe in his loneliness, inner dialogue, and how he kept his humanity. Crusoe has difficult emotional conflicts about many issues even though he is by himself and how the search for food does not interfere with the search for the truth. Crusoe’s ethics and faith help him face some of the most freighting moments of his life.

I tried to read the book carefully, and some parts I even reread, but I couldn’t figure out if Crusoe is insane, suicidal or a sociopath. Defoe does a great job twisting the story and putting doubt in my mind in the sanity of his protagonist. By the time Crusoe meets Friday, I was wondering whether or not I misunderstood the story and Crusoe was going to simply kill him.

The story does teach us how to be happy with what we have. Defoe often references G-d and/or Providence to maintain some semblance of interest in a story about a lonely man.

Even though the novel is almost 300 years old (at the time of this post), it is still relevant and exciting. While the language does reflect the prejudices of the 18th Century, it is still a product of its time and well worth reading.

Synopsis:
Robinson Crusoe loved the sea, on his first voyage his ship was wrecked, on his second he was enslaved for two years by pirates, on his third, escaping from slavery, Crusoe found some peace and bought a plantation in Brazil. After numerous years, Crusoe joins an expedition to bring slaves from Africa when he is shipwrecked on an island which he calls “The Island of Despair”.

Crusoe makes himself tools from the broken ship and survives by hunting, farming and reading the Bible. As years pass Crusoe discovers that his island is being used by cannibals to eat their prisoners. When a prisoner escapes, Crusoe helps him and named him Friday.

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More books by Daniel Defoe

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free.
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