Thursday, April 25, 2013

Island of the Blue Dolphins

by Scott O'Dell
Published: Yearling
pages: 184

Karana lived on an island her tribe named for the blue dolphins that circle it.  She lived in happy seclusion from the rest of the world until one day some Russian hunters came for otter pelts.  She suddenly finds herself alone on this island, waiting for someone to find her and take her away from the loneliness.  In that time, she learns the ins and out of the island she's called home and discovers what it means to be herself.

The writing in this book is very well done.  The narrator starts as a 12 year old, and grows as she tells her story.  The writing grows with her.  It's as though we are actually in the mind of this girl.  Even though we don't understand her language, we get her thoughts as though we did.  She describes some animals and people in her language, which is cool because as the reader we have to decipher what exactly she is talking about.

This book is very well written and it gets into the mind of a young girl growing up on her own.  However, the story itself didn't keep my attention for very long.  I didn't read more than 20 pages each time I sat down to read.  This book took me a lot long than it should have given the length.

I do appreciate that there was a section in the back of the book that explained where the story came from.  I was surprised to find out that that this story was a recreation of actual events.  Even though there is very little information about the actual woman that lived on an island by herself for 18 years, her story is intriguing.  Had I known this was based on a true story, I might have enjoyed the book more.

Stars: 2/5


"A haunting and unusual story."
     --Library Journal, Starred

"Strange and beautiful, revealing courage, serenity, and greatness of spirit."
     --The Horn Book Magazine

"Island of the Blue Dolphins has the timeless enduring quality of a classic."
     --Chicago Tribune

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