October 09, 2011

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

There is something hauntingly beautiful about this book. Sure it has its issues, but largely this is a highly recommended read from me. That has its basis in truth makes it even more appealing.

After some brutal outsiders slay most of her villages men, Karana, with the other people in her village, leave on an English ship from their island forever. But her brother is forgotten and Karana leaps into the waves to return to him, the ship leaving them both behind. But her brother dies soon after and she is left alone on the island to fend for herself. Noone ever returns and the years pass, and Karana must learn to live on her own, with only the island's animals for company.

Karana is an interesting character. She never complains but accepts her fate gracefully. And she does truly find joy in her situation which makes for a nice character. Not necessarily believable, but nice. Since she is largely alone for the book there aren't a lot of human characters, but I do like the way the animals are described and especially her dog was a nice addition to the novel. It really showed her being at one with all that was around her.

While I think the book is about survival, it is also about friendship with the most unlikeliest of creatures and nature. While I know that obviously someone did survive on their own that long since this is based on a true story, it just seems so implausible tha they would do so so steadily for so long without lapsing into a form of mania or having some sort of crazy thoughts. But I suppose that since this is a children's book they left some of those aspects out. Regardless, it is a very empowering book.

Definitely one of my favorites from my childhood and even now. I think everyone should have a chance to read this book.

Island of the Blue Dolphins
Copyright 1960
181 pages

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