Surviving Classics: J.M. Coetzee

My class, Great Books for university has me reading classics. I’ve never been good at reading classics so I thought I would do a series on my blog called How I Survived Classics. This week is J.M. Coetzee’s Foe.

Because I’m lazy, I’m just going to copy and paste Goodread’s blurb. Brb.


J.M. Coetzee reinvents the story of Robinson Crusoe—and in so doing, directs our attention to the seduction and tyranny of storytelling itself

In 1720 the eminent man of letters Daniel Foe is approached by Susan Barton, lately a castaway on a desert island. She wants him to tell her story, and that of the enigmatic man who has become her rescuer, companion, master and sometimes lover: Cruso. Cruso is dead, and his manservant, Friday, is incapable of speech. As she tries to relate the truth about him, the ambitious Barton cannot help turning Cruso into her invention. For as narrated by Foe—as by Coetzee himself—the stories we thought we knew acquire depths that are at once treacherous, elegant, and unexpectedly moving.


I won’t lie. This book had me confused. And I’m pretty sure that’s because I’m not smart enough to read classics. I understood the basics of what was happening, but omg, so much description and waffling.

My favourite part was the island where they were all castaways on Crusoe’s island. This part was easy to understand and follow along with. I even felt a little bit of emotion for the ending of that part, which I didn’t feel for the second half of the book. (Brb. I’ve just got something in my eye.) But then they were rescued and taken back to London, and that’s where things went severely downhill for me. The pace slowed a lot, it was filled with confusing letters to Foe, and I just simply had no idea what was going on. I kept flipping to the synopsis on the back of the book, hoping that it would shed some light on what was happening. But I had no such luck.

The chapters were huge. Wayyyyy too long. I think the book was filled with like 3 chapters and it was a 150 page book. That pretty much says it all. And late at night, when you’re just wanting to read a chapter quickly before bed, this doesn’t go down well.

For some reason I pushed myself to finish it, and I did finish it. So that must mean that it wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read, or…. it was just simply because I had to read it for class. So I did. If someone asked me, though, if Foe by J.M. Coetzee was a good place to start with classics, then I wouldn’t be able to recommend it.


I give J.M. Coetzee’s Foe 3 stars out of 5.


One thought on “Surviving Classics: J.M. Coetzee

  1. Pingback: Surviving Classics: F. Scott Fitzgerald | PasoMaddie

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