Book #80: Kidnapped

Long, long ago (okay, about a month ago), I read Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped.

It wasn’t really what I was expecting, but at the same time, it was almost exactly what I was expecting. I guess it was the title that threw me off the most. I figured, given the title, that Kidnapped would be about someone being kidnapped and his adventures of eventually escaping and getting home. Of course, I just described the plot perfectly.

However, I thought the kidnapping would be more dramatic and the plot would focus more on this event. It didn’t, so much, though. Instead, it was about how David Balfour was sold away by his greedy uncle, was befriended by Alan Breck, falls in with interesting characters, and ultimately finds his way back. I guess I would have been expecting this if I’d known the book’s full title: Kidnapped: Being Memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour in the Year 1751, How he was Kidnapped and Cast Away; his Sufferings in a Desert Isle; his Journey in the Wild Highlands; his acquaintance with Alan Breck Stewart and other notorious Highland Jacobites; with all that he Suffered at the hands of his Uncle, Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws, falsely so-called: Written by himself and now set forth by Robert Louis Stevenson.

I’m not sure why they shortened the title. It really tells you everything you need to know.

Overall, I enjoyed Kidnapped. It was the adventure style I expect from Stevenson, and, being an anglophile and a history buff, I really liked how Stevenson worked in a lot of Jacobin/loyalist plot elements. It’s a great mix of the adventure stories I loved growing up (complete with orphans and kidnappings and shipwrecks!) and historical fiction that works in and acknowledges actual events from the time period its set in.

To be honest, I’m not sure how I didn’t read Kidnapped as a child. I found out that it’s kind of part of a series, and I’m looking forward to reading other books about David Balfour.

Rating: ****

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