Stranded by Sarah Goodwin
#reality #island #danger #mobrule @JanBelisle @absltmom
Maddy had an overprotective upbringing and the untimely deaths of her parents have left her reeling. She needs a change and signs up for a reality Survivor-type show where 8 contestants (four men, four women) are left on an island off the coast of Scotland, where they will live for one year. It’s an experiment to see how they will survive, and no one is voted off. But alliances are soon drawn, and Maddy, having few social skills, becomes the scapegoat for everything that goes wrong. If you wonder what would happen if society breaks down and it’s survival of the fittest, this is a prime example of mob mentality.
The book opens with Maddy sitting for an interview for a tv show. She’s painfully thin and bedraggled, after unspecified criminal charges and time in prison. Things obviously have gone terribly awry, and not everyone made it back from the island. Maddy tells her story, and what a story it is!
Please note I hate camping or rustic anything. My idea of roughing it is making reservations at a luxury resort. But, still, I loved the setting and the descriptions of how the group uses their skills to forage and provide shelter and food for themselves. The second half of the book was riveting and unputdownable, and the ending…well, I needed to talk about it!
As an aside, you do not have to be a fan of camping or roughing it in order to enjoy this book. My husband and I were huge fans of the show Survivor in its early days, and he would always joke (not really joking…) that had I been on the show I’d be the first voted off the island for two reasons:
a. I would tell everyone once every 2 minutes that I was hungry. Seriously, I have an uncontrollable urge to voice it repeatedly. I don’t do hungry well
b. I have a 2-degree temperature level of comfort. I’m either too hot or too cold. The proper temperature is elusive and I have a need to repeatedly tell him how hot or cold I am.
My fellow survivors would hate me and couldn’t get rid of me fast enough.
However, I do like living vicariously, and there was the Survivor nostalgic factor. Plus, this story was unique, which I appreciate. So many books are a variation of the same theme but this was different and I will likely remember it for that alone.
At the 50% mark, winter is setting in and conditions deteriorate rapidly after a surprising discovery. The tension ramps up, and I simply could not put the book down. I was glued to the page to find out what would happen and who would survive. I was at 95% at the end of a very long car trip where I would ordinarily be ready to get out of the car, but I found myself urging my husband to run an errand so I could finish the book. He wasn’t buying it. It’s been a long time since a book has affected me this way.
Is it perfect? No. Told in the 1st person POV, we only hear Maddy’s story with no input from the others. It left me wondering why she was ostracized and if she was an unreliable narrator. But that also works in the plus column because it left me as a reader uncertain. Secondly, foreshadowing annoys me, and there was too much “if only I’d known how much worse it would get…”. To be fair, it DID get much, much worse, but I didn’t need to hear it repeatedly. Thirdly, the ending is problematic and requires some suspension of disbelief. The more I talked about it with my reading buddy Marialyce, the more I became annoyed. So, this isn’t a book for book clubs! Just read it, accept it as a purely entertaining read, and move on. The strengths outweigh any criticisms I had.
· I received a digital copy via Netgalley for review. All opinions are my own.
One things for sure, you would never find me being on one of those survival shows. I love my creature comforts and would be the first to say plodding through a Forrest or taking an RV trip sends shivers down my spine.
Reading the book Stranded reinforced that view. To me, placing myself not only in the wild but with people who I didn’t know seems to be an exercise in stupidity. The main character of the story finds herself the eventual pariah of this motley group of eight left on an island close to Scotland, meaning this is no tropical oasis.
Things start to go wrong almost immediately as the division of duties and tasks seem to be inequitable and groups start to form eventually leaving Maddie out, seemingly because of her what one might call her common sense concerns.
The group, particularly their leader, comes to hate Maddie infusing this animosity into all. Eventually, she is thrown out of the camp left more or less to fend for herself.
Meanwhile time passes and various occurrences happen which start to boil over and tragedy in many forms stresses the group to a breaking point. Will Maddie or anyone make it out alive?
This was a somewhat interesting tale reminding me of Lord of the Flies but it did have many plot holes which decreased the enjoyment level for me. For a new author, it was a good effort but this book left me with more questions than answers.
Jan and I discussed all of the details plus the various omissions and inconsistencies of the story. Jan liked it a tad more than me but for the enjoyment level, we both agreed that this book managed to hold our interest.
Bottom line is point me in the direction of a Four Season hotel and I will be a happy “camper” This book convinced me I am not a roughing it girl.
and here’s the author:
Sarah Goodwin is a novelist who grew up in rural Hertfordshire and now lives in Bristol. She was raised on C. S. Lewis, Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie by her parents and spent her summers in castles and on battlefields making up stories about women struggling for survival against war, poverty and dragons.
At Bath Spa University Sarah studied for a BA in Creative Writing and self-published seven novels across various genres, including YA magical realism, contemporary women’s fiction, romance and horror.
While undertaking her Master’s degree, Sarah participated in writing and performing in sketches for Bristol-based What Have You Comedy and now appears regularly on Bristol Youth Radio Rocks as part of a weekly mental health hour for young people.
Sarah graduated in 2014 with an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University.