Monday, February 11, 2013

Book Review: Kidnapped

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

Story: Set against the aftermath of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion, the gripping drama of Kidnapped—originally published in 1886—takes readers to the danger and intrigue of a Scotland sundered by revolution. The story is told by David "Davey" Balfour, a young Whig and Lowlander whose odyssey is a microcosm of the struggles besetting his country. After his father dies Davey is tricked by a miserly uncle Ebenezer, he survives attempted murder, kidnap, and shipwreck, only to escape through the Highlands in the company of Alan Breck Stewart—a Jacobite adamantly opposed to Whigs like Davey. Running for their lives, the two fugitives must rely on each other even as the ancient misunderstandings between them force tensions to the breaking point. A riveting page-turner and work of social commentary, Kidnapped is one of Robert Louis Stevenson’s greatest works.

Interesting Bits: So many, this is an adventure story after all! Davey encounters a miserly uncle, almost falls off an unfinished set of stairs, is hit on the head and kidnapped by a ships crew, fights for his life on the ship, spends four days on a desert island, witnesses a murder, treks over the wild Highlands of Scotland and much more! There are many edge of your seat moments mixed with humor and stories of friendship.

About the AuthorBorn November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer, and a leading representative of Neo-romanticism in English literature. He was greatly admired by many authors, including Ernest Hemingway and Rudyard Kipling. On December 3rd, 1894, he died of an apparent cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 44.  As Mr. Stevenson was himself distantly related to the Balfour family this story was quite personal for him. The introduction read in the audio recording was a letter written by Mr. Stevenson's wife Fanny and told how in preparation for writing the book they both greatly enjoyed reading up on the historical accounts of the real Alan Breck Stewart (aka Allan Stewart) and many of the other characters met in the Highlands were real historic people. 

My Thoughts: Kidnapped was among several classic adventure stories that my mom read to me and my siblings when we were younger. I have fond memories of the story but couldn't remember much of it so I found this LibriVox recording and had a great time listening to the whole thing! 
I love Davey's story from his uncle's trickery to his travels in the Highlands of Scotland, they are just so interesting! I enjoy reading the accents too and the words they use, I dinnae ken lass, it's a wee bit too delightful! :)  The friendship that develops between Davey and Alan Breck is so special and they really have to rely upon each other as they go along. From beginning to end it's just such an exciting story and is definitely my favorite of the Robert Louis Stevenson stories that I've "read", I like it even more than Treasure Island!  I just recently discovered Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a sequel to Kidnapped called Catriona which sounds very intuiting! Kidnapped has definitely soared to one of my all-time favorite books!

A Bit About Movies: I've seen Kidnapped (1995)  once and seem to remember recording that on VHS so I'll have to dig it out soon. I don't remember if it's close to the book or not. Has anyone else seen a film adaptation of Kidnapped? maybe the Disney one?  Nothing could compare to the book though, there's such excitement and mystery there! 

Have you read Kidnapped

Are you a fan of Robert Louis Stevenson's work? 


Hamlette said...

"Kidnapped" is my favorite of RLS's books -- I adore both David Balfour and Alan Breck Stuart. I've also read the sequel, and it was good, but not awesome like this.

I've seen the 1960 Disney movie, starring James MacArthur and Peter Finch, with a brief appearance by Peter O'Toole playing the bagpipes :-) I highly recommend that version, as it is loads of fun.

Anna Grace said...

Woah...I am speechless -- I just posted a book review for this like a week ago! O.o Great minds think alike, eh? ;)

Great review, by the by! As for the Kidnapped adaptations -- *cough* *cough* I hated them *cough*. You see, they always make Davie really pathetic and either whiny the whole time or just down-right grumpy, it seemed. It was like they took his characteristics from the chapter "The Quarrel" and based the whole movie of of that! O.o :D Plus, they have yet to find an Allan that does him justice. {although, I believe the Disney Alan was good -- but Davie was horrible in that}

the same people who made that Treasure Island miniseries needs to do one on Kidnapped. That would be very, very good, I think.

"Catriona" is REALLY good! There's not quite as much adventure and Alan isn't in it nearly as much { :'( } - but Davie falling in love is the cutest thing EVER! :D So read it - you'll probably enjoy it. :)

Lovely review!


Langsather Letters said...

We are a big fan of his poetry around here! I have a very young ones at home who have not mastered the art of sitting quite still enough for chapter books.

Marian said...

I LOVE this book (like you, even more than Treasure Island)! It's one I actually re-read on occasion - Alan is just an amazing character. The 2005 BBC version is my favorite adaptation, though it takes a lot of liberties (including making Alan a jerk); still, overall they get the spirit of it right. I read Catriona, which was pretty good, though disappointing for Alan Breck fans (he is barely in it).

Classic Sasa said...

Yes! Hooray for Alan Breck and David Balfour! I remember enjoying this book very much when I was 11 or 12 years old...It has been a while. I recall that I had a hard time with the accents. Reading out loud helped a lot! Lovely book...time for a re-read! Note to self: must convince my brother to read it...

I watched the Disney film some time ago. The actor who played Davy was also the same young man who played the eldest son in "The Swiss Family Robinson". Just a thing I noticed :). I should look up the other version...

By the way, Miss Laurie, your blog is lovely. I like how you keep changing periodically your blog theme. Each one is absolutely elegant!And your reviews are very helpful...


Eva said...

Just dropping by to let you know you’ve been awarded/tagged! Check out the details here –

Elisa said...

I'm a late arrival to this one.

PBS's "Masterpiece Theater" did one in fall 2006. It was in two parts.

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

Glad to hear that the Disney one is good. I don't think I've seen that one but I've seen some of Disney's other older adventure movies and enjoyed them a lot.

Anna Grace,
I'm glad to hear "Catriona" is good. I'll have to see if I can get my hands on a copy. Yeah, if the Sky1 people who did Treasure Island 2012 would adapt Kidnapped that would be interesting and probably very good! :)

Langsather Letters,
I'm a fan of his poetry too and have a few from his Children's Garden of Verses memorized. :)

Classic Sasa (K.W.),
Thank you for stopping by, I'm glad you enjoy my blog and that my reviews are helpful!

Thanks for the award/tag!

That's interesting, I'll have to check it out!

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