Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Reading Journal: The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

Book Description:
Originally written to entertain his four young sons, Johann David Wyss based The Swiss Family Robinson on Daniel Defoe's classic shipwreck story, Robinson Crusoe (1719). Upon its initial publication in 1812, The Swiss Family Robinson was received with great enthusiasm not only as a first-rate adventure story, but also as a practical guide to self-sufficiency.
My thoughts:
The Swiss Family Robinson is a book that I had very fond memories of reading back in my grade school days. When making my Classics Club list I added as a re-read just for old times sakes.

It was interesting to read on how they set up their island and make use of the things that they rescued from the ship wreck and put it to very ingenious uses. One of my most favorite aspects of the this story was their gratitude to God that they showed over and over in the story. But....(you knew that was coming, right?)

This is really a very fantastical story--too much so! Everything they could ever desire or want they eventually came across. They had lions and tigers on the same island. Birds from all over the world lived there. The desert and tropics were right at hand. I told my husband they had everything a person could possible want or need outside of other human contact, which does eventually appear at the end of the story. And don't even get me going on all the unnecessary killing of animals and trust me I am NOT even close to be any kind of animal rights activist!!

So my biggest problem I've had with this book is with myself. Have I just grown up and realize that this could never happen in any one's lifetime? (I hope.) Has today's culture made me a very cynical person? (I pray not.)  Am I subconsciously absorbing today's mind set on "animal rights"? (God forbid!) Do I not have a little child still lurking inside of me who can look past all of the fantastical parts and just enjoy it for the adventure story that it is?

I definitely have been pondering these questions and I in the meantime I'm very curious to read Robinson Crusoe and compare it to The Swiss Family Robinson . I think this is one I'll be mulling over for awhile. My two middle children will be reading this soon and I'm going to be interested in seeing their reaction. I have really kept my feelings under wrap about this book because of what I experience when I read it as a child and I don't want to ruin it for them. Maybe it would be a good idea to read it to them aloud. I may find pleasure in the story if they do.

So there you have it. All my disjointed thoughts that don't make any kind of sense!  I'll leave you with my poor excuse of a book review and I think I'll go off and search and see if I can find my inner child.  

1 comment:

  1. This one is on my Classics Club list, too, though I've never read it. I have such fond memories of the Disney movie, though, and in fact just introduced my children to it a month or two ago. I did try to listen to a Librivox recording of it, but I just can't find the time to listen to audiobooks myself, especially such a long one. I suspect that I'll have the same reaction to this story once I get around to reading it since the movie had already lost a bit of its shine to me. :)



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