"Any voyage can begin! But where and how it finishes is the important part."
First published in 1883, Jules Verne's novel Godfrey Morgan: A Californian Mystery was also published under the title School for Crusoes. And I have to admit I had never even heard of this particular Verne novel until my niece told me she'd read it and liked it. So, since I like Jules Verne, and I value my niece's opinion, I decided to read it, too.
At age 25, Godfrey Morgan isn't quite ready to get married. He wants to travel, and have adventures. Be Robinson Crusoe. So, with his fiancee's support, and on his uncle's dime, he boards a steamship intent on traveling around the world. But in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a storm arises, his ship sinks, and Godfrey finds himself shipwrecked on an uninhabited island with only Tartlet, his fiancee's dancing master, for company.
"...he set foot on the land where there probably awaited him, if not early death, at least a miserable life worse than death. Hunger, thirst, cold, and nakedness, and perils of all kinds; without a weapon of defence, without a gun to shoot with, without a change of clothes--such the extremities to which he was reduced. How imprudent he had been! He had been desirous of knowing if he was capable of making his way in the world under difficult circumstances! He had put himself to the proof! He had envied the lot of a Crusoe! Well, he would see if the lot were an enviable one."What follows is a delightful comedy of errors as Godfrey and Tartlet try to make fire, find food, create a shelter, and survive the elements and the strange animals they discover on the island, all while channeling the spirit of Robinson Crusoe. This is probably one of Verne's more light-hearted novels. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Godfrey is a stalwart, good-hearted character who never gives up, even when things look grim. There isn't a lot of suspense about whether or not he'll survive because the "twist" at the end is apparent right from the beginning, but that only adds to the fun. This novel makes me want to read the rest of Jules Verne's "Voyages Extraordinaires".