Monday, January 30, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

Island of the Blue Dolphins
by Scott O'Dell

Flap Copy description:
Far off the coast of California looms a harsh rock known as San Nicolas Island. Dolphins flash in the blue waters around it, sea otter play in the vast kelp beds, cormorants roost on its crags, and sea elephants loll on the stony beaches.
Here, in the 1800's, according to history, an Indian girl lived alone for eighteen years, and this beautifully written novel is her story. It is a romantic adventure, filled with drama and heartache, for not only was mere subsistence on so desolate a spot a near miracle, but Karana had to contend with the ferocious pack of wild dogs that had killed her younger brother, constantly guard against the Aleutian sea otter hunters, and maintain a precarious food supply, even when it meant battling an octopus.
More than this, it is an adventure of the spirit that will haunt the reader long after the book has been put down. Karana's quiet courage, her self-reliance and acceptance of fate, transform what to many would have been an ordeal into an uplifting experience. From loneliness and terror come the strength and serenity that are the goal of modern mankind and that are symbolized by the island itself, rising alone and majestic from the wide waters of the Pacific.

My thoughts:
It is difficult to give what would be considered an objective book review when a book touches you as deeply as Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins touched me. This poignant middle grade novel not only won the Newbery Award in 1961; but was also recognized in 1976 by the Children's Literature Association as one of the ten best American children's books of the past two hundred years.
Written in first person - past tense, we are drawn into a saga of spiritual survival, through the point of view of the tenacious - Karana.
The descriptions of the Native American culture, the beauty of nature, and the wonderful wildlife that helped sustain the lonely woman were written in a very poetic style.
This classic is one of those rare literary masterpieces that is not only suitable for all ages - but I believe should be read by everyone sometime in their lifetime!

Note: You can learn more about The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island by clicking on this link:
http://www.sbnature.org/research/anthro/chumash/lowom.htm

2 comments:

  1. Wow, I honestly can't believe I've never read this book. It's sounds beautiful! Thanks

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