Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Real Lost
"Island of the Blue Dolphins"
by Scott O'Dell

A few months ago Aubrey and I went to Catalina Island, one of a chain of islands off the Los Angeles coast, and on the way our conversation veered to the "Island of the Blue Dolphins". On an island neighboring Catalina, San Nicolas, in the late 1800s, a girl was found, alone, having survived the last twenty-some years on her own. She spoke no understandable language, and the rest of her people had long since passed. I was fascinated.

The book is a fictionalization of the girl's account. It's based on a few facts, but it really did happen. Karana, the girl, became a woman during her stay on the island, she overcame fears about hunting as a woman (forbidden in her tribe), fears of isolation, all while maintaining a consistent hope and goodness. Her story is one that should be heard, and one that should be followed, because at its core it is a story about how resourceful people can be, how instincts do help, and how living in harmony with the world around you is one of the most important things for sustainability.

I don't have much to say about the book other than that I enjoyed it immensely. Karana's relationships with the animals on the island, I found her domestication of a wild dog and birds and, briefly, a fox, heartwarming and sincere. Her struggle was dramatic and the book was fantastically told. It's a young adult book, but I really think that categories like "young adult" should be done away with. Anyone can read a young adult book, and anyone can enjoy it. Case in point: Harry Potter.

For some interactive fun on the Island, go here.

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