I was surprised to see some reviewers didn't like this wonderful book. If you have trouble with the Scottish accent, read it out loud, use your imagination, and if you still can't figure it out, skip a bit. (Do you insist on understanding every single word spoken in a movie?)
This is the story of a young man overcoming adversity to gain maturity and his birthright. It moves right along, in Stevenson's beautiful prose. Read, for example, this sentence from Chapter 12: "In those days, so close on the back of the great rebellion, it was needful a man should know what he was doing when he went upon the heather." Read it out loud; it rolls along, carrying the reader back to Scotland, even a reader like me, who doesn't know all that much about Scottish history. Kidnapped is by no means inferior, and in many ways superior to the more famous Treasure Island.
Only two points I would like to bring up: I bought the Penguin Popular Classics issue, and have sort of mixed feelings. Maybe some day I'll get the version illustrated by Wyeth. I'm not sure whether this book needs illustrations, though. Stevenson's vivid writing is full of pictures.
In Chapter 4, David makes a point of saying that he found a book given by his father to his uncle on Ebenezer's fifth birthday. So? Is this supposed to show how much Ebenezer aged due to his wickedness? If anybody could explain this to me, please do.
This was originally posted in 2000. I am updating it in June 2006: many thanks to alert reader Beth Smith, who very kindly informed me that the significance is that David's father was older than the uncle. Therefore the father, and now David, was the rightful owner of the estate of Shaws.
Ok, gotcha, clear now, and I'll reread it. Thanks to Ms Smith, and to Amazon for this forum.