Thankfully I took a day before writing this review otherwise I would be having a vitriolic rant about the questionable judgement of many readers on GR. After this one, Fifty Shades of Grey, On Dublin Street and probably others I am forgetting, I am a wee bit horrified by the taste level I'm coming across. But I digress.
So what was wrong with On the Island? It would be easier to tell you what was right with it: nothing.
Monotonous, repetitive, predictable, unoriginal, mindless, cliche...these are just a few of the words that come to mind.
The writing is simply not good. It is monotonous and absolutely lacked a descriptive quality. When there were descriptions they were vague. And don't get me started on how the author chose to treat sexual relations in the book. Every instance of sex was approached in a prudish manner which was just ridiculous.
There was pretty much only telling rather than showing. Show us Anna’s despair, don’t just tell us she is sad. There was simply no true depth during the time on the island (or after). Where is the despair? Where is the character growth? Why focus on the monotonous tasks, why not the conversations they supposedly had outside the book’s pages that caused them to grow closer? All we got was shallow dialogue. "Want to go for a swim? Laundry day? Going for a bath, caught some fish....blah blah." AH!
And the relationship between Anna and TJ, was that based on anything other than being trapped on an island together? Their conversations were so bland it was like they were having constant small talk. And considering it was only the two of them why on earth did they need to say the other one's name incessantly during the book? Considering everything else wrong with the book this was minor, albeit still annoying.
Why the hell did Anna not teach TJ anything while on the island outside how to pleasure her in bed? She was hired to tutor him and I'm pretty sure they had nothing but time. They could have easily created a teaching situation but instead they continued to have bland conversations with absolutely no depth. But this isn't terribly surprising, neither one of them seemed intelligent quite frankly.
Anna’s biological clock was fucking annoying and helped to define her as a character, as shallow as the characterization was. After having a dream where she is not rescued until she is 52 she is really upset. Understandable. But the only reason she was upset is that at 52 she would have been too old to have kids. Good god woman, WTF? Where are your priorities???
A number of infuriating issues with the book include:
--A suitcase filled with toiletries from the plane just happens to wash ashore right in front of them. Oh and it is impenetrable since two boxes of tampons are completely unharmed. And don't forget these toiletries will last for YEARS.
--Did you know that pretty much everything is cured with Tylenol? And if it isn't, don't worry, you've got cortisone and benadryl for the rest. And yes this does include broken bones and a fever which kills 50 percent of those who acquire it.
--Smelling the underwear of your fellow castaway after months with them on the island is a completely normal thing to do. Feel free to do this on non-islands as well.
--A single breadfruit tree never runs out of fruit in 3.5 years. Oh and don't bother perusing the island for more edibles, no need.
--You won't see a single crab for months but then you will see ONE, but don't hold your breath for more.
--If you wait approximately 6-7 months you will eventually come across a random chicken. Then another one. And yes, despite fish and fruit you should feel the need to eat the chickens. But oh, let's make that other one a pet and weep when it dies. Yeah, you're consistent people.
--Dolphins will help you wrangle a 9 foot shark so you can kill it.
When they get off of the island neither the writing nor the story improves. Actually Anna and TJ's dialogue may actually get more small talkish. There continues to be no logic to the author's story once they are rescued (Of course the coast guard will happen to be RIGHT there. No passports? Pish posh you will still get home in a couple of days after 3.5 years of being dead to the world. Yadda yadda. And what do you mean I could add depth to the story by including issues regarding the tsunami outside Anna and TJ-ville? Ha, depth, that's funny.)
The unoriginality of the book is confirmed by one of its book trailers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Od535VCJX6o It is pretty much just Blue Lagoon: The Awakening with an older woman and different bland dialogue. Do we seriously need to make this into a movie? Ugh.
Want a shallow, cliche, poorly written survival story? Here ya go! I think I'd rather watch Castaway, thanks.