Monday, March 16, 2015

Shipwreck Island (with coconuts!)

As a kid, I loved watching reruns of Gilligan's Island.  It was funny and silly and pretty sweet.  I didn't care (and, FYI, I still don't) about all of the gaping maw-like plot holes, because it was all for laughs.  Plus, the Professor was pretty easy on the eyes.

In general, I enjoy shipwreck/survival stories.  I did not particularly enjoy Robinson Crusoe, the Big Daddy in the genre, but I think that had to do more with a) having read and immensely enjoyed Defoe's Moll Flanders already and wondering where all the cheekiness went and b) Defoe's complete inability to just ... move ... the ... story ... along.


Now, pacing isn't really an issue in Shipwreck Island, the first in S.A. Bodeen's new series.  If anything, it moved a titch too quickly for me.  And while the characters aren't particularly complex, and the family situation is pretty unbelievable (more on that in a moment), this is a bonafide winner for reluctant readers.

Come on, it has:

  • shipwrecks
  • survival on a tropical island
  • impossible animals
  • possibly evil/sentient weather phenomena
  • giant killer crabs
  • a mysterious seaman's chest
  • a kid named Nacho
Hello?  The next time I get one of those kids who wants "exciting" books but "not too long" I'll be like BOOM! here ya go.  Shipwreck Island.  Plus kids love a series.  AND no one can complain that it's a "boy book" or a "girl book," especially since those phrases make me all ragey.


Now, on to the not-so-good-but-then-again-not-awful things in this book.  The characters are pretty flat.  The kids are all right angry and the parents are oblivious.  Danger, Will Robinson!  Oblivious parent alert!  I'd seriously like to see this convenient trope die a quiet and peaceful death, never to return to the written word.  John and Yvonna got married after meeting just a few times in person, but knowing each other over a year.  Thing is?  They didn't introduce their kids to each other until after the wedding.  

"Why, goodness, darling, why do our children hate each other?  Why won't Sarah eat my delicious enchiladas?  Could it be ... she sees me as 'the evil stepmother'?"  

"Oh, my dear, I'm sure it's just a phase.  Aren't you happy that I saved you from Texas and brought you to live in SoCal, even if I have the personality of a sea slug?"

So, bottom line, read it for fun, not for any sort of deep meaning.  I am curious about all the crazy stuff going on with the supposed Paradise Island and I'm wondering if there's a link between the perfume bottles ...

Not a necessary book, but a good one to have in your bandolier o' books for reluctant readers.

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