Just like ‘Lord of the Flies’

Confession: I regularly liken things to Lord of the Flies and until this past week I’d never actually read William Golding’s piece of required reading. I just assume that any time a sort a version of civilization is created among a small group of people and ugliness is revealed it must smell like this novel. In fact, I just drew this comparison after reading The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan, a story of strangers bobbing along in the Atlantic Ocean waiting for rescue and soliciting volunteers to lighten to load of the vessel by flinging themselves overboard. I tend to avoid talking about things I know nothing about, so every time I bust out a “… just like ‘Lord of the Flies’…” my internal lie horn blares in my ear.

Also, no one ever made me read this in any grade.
Also, I’m sure I would have been in serious skim mode if I’d been assigned to read this in a grade. There is a lot of chatter about the layout of the island.
Also, I sometimes say Lord of the Flies when I mean Children of the Corn.
And sometimes I say Lord of the Rings.

Much as I suspected, this is the story of a bunch of kids who are in a plane that crashes and they end up on an island that is shaped like a boat. First it’s just Ralph winding his way through the woods. Then he is joined by a bespectacled young lad who was referred to as “Piggy” back home, but would like to shake the name now that he’s among new people. Unfortunately Ralph is a bit of an asshole so “Piggy” sticks.

Ralph and Piggy frolick in the waves, find a conch shell and when Ralph blows into it the horn-like noise lures other stranded youngsters to them. This group includes a set of twins, a bunch of extra young boys and a robed choir led by another leader-sort, Jack.

Through a sort of half-assed democratic process Ralph is elected as the person most in charge, followed by Jack, although it’s Piggy with the bright ideas. Piggy becomes the guy in the picture that you see whispering ideas into the in-charge person’s ear. Everything is kind of going okay except for the kids, who prefer play over work, and the priorities that divide the group.

Team Ralph is focused on making sure there is always a smoky fire going on the top of the mountain to alert rescuers; Team Jack wants to smear on camouflage paint and kill wild boars. Team Ralph is cool with hunting, too, as long as there is a fire. Team Jack doesn’t give a rat’s about the fire. This becomes problematic.

I don’t know. I wish someone would show me a checklist for what a book needs in order to have longevity and to land on some sort of AP English summer reading list. This novel is like four great scenes wrapped in some serious snooze. Although the last 15 pages are super great. It really reminded me of The Children of the Corn (my new favorite reference point that I haven’t read).

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