Sunday, 10 October 2010

Books Remembered #4: Scott O'Dell's The Island of Blue Dolphins

This is a feature where I reminisce about books or even series that I read over and over again. Or even a book read once that changed the way I looked at life. It can be a book from childhood or a modern series I just can’t get enough off. It’s not a review of the book(s) but merely remembering the impact it had on me and how it’s shaped my reading habits and likes –what made that book(s) memorable. Feel free to join in with your own books remembered.

I never owned a copy of The Island of Blue Dolphins but Scott O’Dell, but it was probably the book I checked out of my local library the most. The basic premise is based on a true story of a whole tribe who were relocated off their island in the late 19th century/early 20th century. As they are sailing off the dead chief’s daughter sees that her younger brother has been left behind on the island and the ship wouldn’t turn round her him, so she jumps of the ship and swims to shore to look after him. She is only in her early teens at this time. However, shortly after this her brother dies and she is left alone. The Ship never returns for her.

However through various adventures as she learns to live on island. This was the original independent tough heroine for me. She learns how to fish, forage and fend for herself on an island deserted of human contact for years. At one point she builds a raft and attempts to leave island but as the island is based in the pacific she just ends back at the island.

Throughout the whole book the heroine doesn’t spend much time crying or bemoaning her lot; she gets on with it. She knows that the only thing or person that will change her circumstances is herself and she makes those changes. Most of books I read now have a kick-ass heroine who saves the day and this is where my fascination for this type of character comes from. While short, the books covers years as she grows into a young woman. Her only company are the local wild dogs – who are more foe than friend. For some reason this story as always stayed with me. The idea of this girl growing up alone spoke to me – I guess we all feel alone growing up but she truly was. More than that, she survived and even thrived under those circumstances.

I understand it’s the 50 year anniversary this year since The Island of Blue Dolphins was original released...I think I’ll get my hands on a copy – just to keep her company one more time.

If you liked this feature, check out previous entries:
Books Remembered #1: Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles
Books Remembered #2: The Magic Faraway Tree
Books Remembered #3: Christopher Pike's Sati

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