Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Adventurous Allens Marooned

In The Adventurous Allens Marooned, the Allens travel around in the ocean in the vicinity of Florida. During one of their jaunts, a storm blows up unexpectedly. The Allens are pushed ahead of the storm, and the Nancy Allen is at the storm's mercy.

After the storm, the yacht comes to rest near an uncharted island. The ship is not damaged, but is nearly out of gas. The Allens have no choice but to anchor and explore the island.

The Allens soon discover that the island was once the site of a plantation. The plantation house has burned down, and there appears to be no sign of human life on the island, at least at first. The Allens have a couple of narrow escapes from snakes and mongooses as they explore the island.

I greatly enjoyed the first half of the book, but in the middle of the book, it began to lose me. The Allens explore the island on several excursions, and they cut through the brush, look through the sugar house, see a few snakes, see some of the old crops, explore again, look through the sugar house, see a few snakes, see some of the old crops, repeat, repeat. Boring!

We even get an entire chapter where Marjorie writes a long entry in her diary telling of their adventures up to that point in a rambling fashion. Meaning, Marjorie tells the story of the book over again in a chapter but in a rambling disjointed conversational fashion. I confess that I began skimming the book at that point. Boring!

We then get another chapter later where Marjorie tells of one day's events in her journal in the same fashion as above, then the next chapter gives the events from the perspective of the other characters. The trouble is that none of it is that interesting. I skimmed a lot of that part of the book as well.

The book was true to life as far as how events would actually transpire if one were to land on an island in the ocean and then explore it. Except this is a book, and the events need to be a little more exciting than in real life. Cutting through the brush over and over again did not do much for me.

Ah, but the book had so much potential. There was mention of cannibals, but nothing came of that. The Allens were never in any real danger, aside from the snakes.

I was annoyed that it takes months for the Allens to get around to making sails out of sheets so they can sail back to Florida. Seriously... the Allens are stranded for months, and all they do is cut through the brush over and over again and explore the sugar house, and so on and so forth. So little happens that it feels like no more than a week or so, but it is actually supposed to be months. (!)

The next paragraph spoils how the Allens get rescued from the island, so skip it if you don't want to know. I hardly think it matters, since the frontispiece and the title of a chapter give it away.

And then, in the end, the Allens do not need to make sails because an airplane crashes into the ocean right by the Allens' boat. The Allens rescue the pilot, tie his plane to the boat, and transfer his fuel to their boat. They then take off for Florida. I expected for the Allens to have to work to be rescued. It is not acceptable for them to miraculously obtain fuel without any effort. Lame!

I got confused during some of the excursions because the events were poorly described. There is an earthquake, and then Pat tells the others, "We can look for the sea, folks. We'll have to risk the hills!" I did not realize at first what the statement meant. After reading a bit further, I finally realized that that they were going to higher ground in case of a tsunami as a result of the earthquake. It was awful trying to interpret the poor writing at times. I'd quote a bunch of it so you can see, but it is not worth my time. Ugh.

I really enjoyed the first three Adventurous Allens books, but this one was a bit mediocre. This is why I'm afraid to buy any additional books by Harriet Pyne Grove.

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