Warning: Clicking through to Continue Reading will reveal spoilers.
This book popped up on my Kindle recommendations yesterday and I realized that I had not posted about it, and it definitely deserves a post (Better late than never!). Wreckage tells the story of two plane-wreck survivors who spend their time living off the land of a deserted island while they wait to be rescued. The two survivors have since returned to their normal lives as best they can, and the book switches between past and present to tell their story.
Wreckage is a very cool book and definitely a page turner. Bleecker organized the book phenomenally, letting the reader’s curiosity grow and satisfying it at the perfect moments. It felt like I was dying to get to the next page and find out what was going to happen for the length of the entire book.
While the book has mixed reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, I was a little put off by some of the negative comments. It seems like many people did not like the book because it wasn’t realistic. I mean, did these readers really pick up a book about two people who survive alone for two years on an Pacific Ocean island and expect it to be a realistic survival story? The book is not meant to be some sort of survival guide, it is simply a fictional setting in which to examine the ways people grow and live together, within and apart from society.
Warning: Spoilers past this point.
As Dave and Lillian return to their families after rescue from the island, they have trouble adjusting to normal life and working out what they mean to one another. Lilian returns to a happy marriage, while Dave returns to a wife whom he left behind on uncertain and unhappy terms. They are keeping secrets from their families and the world, further complicating their re-entry into regular life.
Wreckage is a story of survival apart from civilized society. Lillian, Dave and Kent have to work together and individually to maintain an adequate shelter and food supplies. Dave and Lillian never would have survived the island without Kent, which is ironic because they end up having to kill him after he attacks Lillian. This irony is not lost on them, and they seem plagued by conflicting feelings of hatred and guilt for his murder. Kent represents the good and bad of primitive human nature. While he is able to hunt and establish a shelter, he is weak to his natural impulses and destroyed by grief after losing the woman he loves in the crash. If Theresa hadn’t died in the crash, Kent probably would not have lost his mind and tried to rape Lillian.
Dave and Lillian lived a lifetime in the two years they spent on the island. In such a short span of time, they lost loved ones together, built a home, fell in love, had a child, lost a child, and even took the life of their companion. Now that they are home, they return to their spouses and Lillian promises her husband that she will leave Dave and the island in the past for the sake of their marriage.
Personally, I loved that Lillian is able to save her marriage and find comfort in the man who she has been with for years. I’m sure some readers would have liked to see Lillian and Dave end up together, but not me. Lillian really loved her husband, and she never would have been with Dave if not for the belief that she was going to spend the rest of her life stuck on the island away from her family. In some ways, it seems similar to one spouse passing away. Her relationship with Dave does not develop because she no longer loves her husband, but rather because she believes she will never see him again. On the other hand, Dave does not have a happy marriage to return to, and he would likely have ended up divorced if he was not involved in the crash. For me, Wreckage ended perfectly, with Lillian happily returned to her family and helping Dave and his wife start their own.