I was more than a little disappointed with the general reaction to R. L. Stevenson’s book Kidnapped. The plot line follows a youth who is thrust into a dangerous situation, must take charge, and succeeds triumphantly. The novel contains physical violence, revenge, and adventure. However, these basic building blocks for a modern day youth read were not enough to keep the MEWA book club interested. When I first read this book, I was immediately absorbed by its swashbuckling tales and promise of a good revenge story. I didn’t notice anything annoying about the way it was written or received. Others were not so lucky. Before we get into why though, let’s briefly mention what is this book really about.
David Balfour is sent to live with his uncle after his parents pass away. Though Ddavid never knew of him, his mysterious uncle claims to be the heir to the family fortune. However, when David discovers information that indicates otherwise he finds himself kidnapped and aboard a ship, never to return home. With what little resources and experience he has, David makes friends and begins his epic journey back to receive justice on his uncle.
This story that ensnared me did, not hold the attention of my peers, however. I discovered that they felt the dialogue was two dimensional, and that the characters were difficult to relate to. I discovered that they felt the pace of the book was imbalanced and that Stevenson spent too much time writing about un-exciting scenes. This begs the question, are my peers right to think this? I believe that in the end, they do have reason to believe these things. Kidnapped did not contain the same depth and feeling of other Stevenson works such as Treasure Island. Though some readers such as myself are able to remove themselves from distracting parts of books and only focus on the good, most cannot. Nor should they. While I was able to make myself interested in his plight, I will agree that David Balfour as a character was un-relatable and transparent. However, I do urge you to read this book, if not for the pure adventure of it, then maybe just to see if I’m right. Maybe you won’t be as weak willed as me, and will genuinely love it the way I wanted to.
I have had a few jobs in my life that I didn't enjoy: detassling corn, working in a small motor parts factory, framing pictures, serving food, and rejecting bad eggs in an egg factory. Today, I take part in a book club for teens and I love every minute of it.