54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Voyage of Discovery but Full of Emotional Trepedation, 14 July 2002
This book, written in the first person, describes the life of a 'normal' teenage boy and his companion-dog, Stella Artois, and begins with their life together playing football with friend Eddie on the mud. However, a change in fortune for Michael and his dog soon provides excitement and trepidation as a voyage of discovery begins.
The Peggy Sue sets sail from Fareham, Hampshire and travels round the world but Michael and Stella end up in the water, washed up on an island with Kensuke and his orang-utans and gibbons.
This book is a personal diary, yet written in a narrative form. It is an intercultural experience of a young English boy who ends up meeting a Japanese doctor. There are gentle reminders to the reader of the devastation and loss which atomic bombs can cause whilst at the same time there is the gentle caring and kind development of a relationship between a ship-wrecked boy and a man many years his senior.
The theme suggests overtones of the latest TV fad of "Survivor" yet the pace and content of the book is far gentler and less vicious. We can see how characters interact with each other and the emotional upheavals that the loss of loved ones brings, whatever the age, however long the separation.
There is also mention of the plight of some wild animals and the horrendous experience which some undergo for the profits of animal hunters, whilst a realisation of how the simple orang-utan is closer to humankind than we might remember.
The book gently unfolds how, within the wider world and pace of Western life, a gentler more laid-back existence can still be found. The air of tranquillity of undiscovered places allows the reader to almost enter a fantasy existence, whilst at the same time, still being anchored into Western civilisation with memories of past experiences and future expectations.
This book is full of exciting subadventures, whilst the overall plot moves on at an appropriate pace. A definite must for any 9-13 year old, but adults too will enjoy this voyage of discovery and reunion.