I decided to listen to Robinson Crusoe when studying economics last year. Several economists refer to Crusoe as they explain natural law, property rights, etc.
I enjoyed the book, but I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about it. If Goodreads had the option for half-stars, I would have rated this book 3.5/5.
One of the most valuable aspects of this story is that it introduces so many topics and ideas. While listening, I had epiphanies and desired to learn more about many subjects, some of which are:
How much autobiographical sketches end up in fictional works
Sea-faring life, including parts of a ship, types of vessels, duties on-board, etc.
The history of sea travel and trade
Recognizing signs/messages from God and obeying them
Survival rules and techniques
Justice and mercy
Oceanic currents, tides, etc.
Moral boundaries/obligations regarding helping others in need
Child – parent relationships
Forms of worship
…and the list goes on and on.
For that reason alone, Robinson Crusoe is worth reading. I look forward to reading it with my kids and discussing some of the topics above and hearing what topics they see that I didn’t.
Interesting, writing the list above has convinced me to increase my rating to 4/5 stars.
One complaint I have is that Robinson’s guilt and repentance seemed to be for his youthful abandon and failure to heed parental and divine warnings. I thought his tragedy might be a form of punishment for involving himself in the slave trade; however, he later speaks of the benefit of the purchase of additional slaves to work his plantation in Brazil. I do recognize that this story was written long ago, and cultural values and human rights were very different then.
I liked that Robinson was a “real” character. What I mean by that is he wants to be happy and do well, but he makes mistakes and forgets what is important from time to time. I like his industry and perseverance in the face of a challenge. I appreciate that some of his best efforts ended in abject failure. And I especially liked that Robinson learned from those failures.
In short, I enjoyed the adventures of Robinson Crusoe and find his story to be valuable and worth further reading and pondering.