The sole survivor of a shipwreck, Robinson Crusoe is washed up on a desert island. In his journal he chronicles his daily battle to stay alive, as he conquers isolation, fashions shelter and clothes, first encounters another human being and fights off cannibals and mutineers.
(Quick disclaimer: I usually don't like writing reviews for books I read for university but I have a lot to say about this so I decided to also put this very rambly collection of thoughts into a blog-post. It's also full of spoilers. You might not want to read this.)
At first, I thought it was kind of funny, Robinson goes: "Daaaaad, I want to go on an adventure! At sea!", his dad tells him he shouldn't do that so naturally Robinson runs away and doesn't even tell his parents good-bye. On his first voyage he swears to never do something like that again and immediately boards another ship.
But that's where the trouble starts. Because, pretty soon he get's captured by some pirates and is sold into slavery which he can't stand. After all, he's European, Europeans aren't supposed to serve, right? He manages to get away with a fellow slave whom he's promised freedom, until: "Ahh, sorry dude, but I need the money therefore I have sold you to this fellow over there for 10 years, I hope that's okay :)" Yeah. But, again, he changes his mind immediately because he realizes that he could actually use a slave himself and, oh, no, his former slave now belongs to someone else. Freedom? Who needs freedom if you can serve a European??
It pretty much goes downhill from there. Obviously, once he ends up on his island there is a loooong section of just "end then I built a table and then I built a wall and then I found some grapes and then I also found some goats and also I killed this other animal just because and some other animal just because and then I ate some turtle and then I built my castle". Morally, I can gloss over his obsession with killing things but story-telling wise these chapters were just boring. Apart from the interesting development of his psyche (he pretty much ends up thinking that he's the greatest human ever, it's kind of funny and concerning).
Then, of course, Robinson finds his way to God and … it's just so stupid. "Oh, God, why hast thou put me here? – Actually, this place is great what could I want more? – Oh, no, I will never leave this place, please God, send me help in my misery. – I am very content. – If I could just leave this wretched island! – When I was on the island I always had what I wished for and wished for what I had, it was pretty great!"
Then there is the issue of the "savages": "Oh, God, all these savages, I'm going to kill them! Wait, no, God has let them survive this long I mustn't kill them!" *5 minutes later* "You know what? God definitely wanted me to kill them. Let's go kill them! Luckily, because they're cannibals, I can kill as many of them as I like without fearing punishment from God. Ah, God is such a great guy."
Obviously, he isn't able to just kill dozens of people, which he doesn't have to because he quickly decides that he doesn't want to kill all of them but rather: "I sure should get one for myself! I dreamt about having a slave and therefore it was God who gave me the dream and I should definitely get one for myself." You probably know about Friday, hence, it comes to no surprise that Robinson is able to free him: "And you're now called Friday, because today is Friday, and I'm called Master." Yeah, he honestly tells Friday his name is "Master". Robinson is such an idiot. "It's so great to have a slav– a servant/friend!"
In the end, he gets away from the island ("Hurrrrraaayy") and he becomes wealthy and has a wife (she's introduced and killed off within, like, 3 sentences) and his life is totally great - the End. If, at least, Defoe's sentences weren't so long it might have been an almost ok book.
Name: Robinson Crusoe
Deutscher Titel: Robinson Crusoe
Series: Robinson Crusoe (yeah, I didn't realize there was more than one book, either, until he suddenly ended this one with "I'll tell you about my next adventures in my second book!" But, no thanks, that's a pass from me.)
Author: Daniel Defoe
Publisher: Modern Library