is a preteen adventure-fantasy novel by Wendy Orr, first published in 1999. It is centered around a girl (named Nim) and her father's adventures on and around a secret island untouched by humans. At times the story reads like a Lighter and Softer Robinson Crusoe
-esque Slice of Life
, but there are two main plot threads. One centers around Nim's father, who goes away on a research trip but is nearly killed in a storm; the other centers around Nim's unlikely but growing friendship with a writer named Alex via email. In the background are themes about family, growing up, friendship, and a Green Aesop
In 2008, Nim's Island
got a film adaptation
, which is much more famous than the book. The plot is more or less the same, with the exception of the Troppo Tourists subplot which is removed altogether.
This work and its adaptation provides examples of:
- The Aloner: Nim and her father when he is away.
- Badass Bookworm: Nim can use a machete, for goodness' sakes.
- Broken Pedestal: When Nim finds out Alex is a girl and didn't actually do the exploring she wrote about in her books, she's not happy.
- Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: At several points, it's clear that Nim doesn't understand the difference between fiction and reality, even stating her belief that the boy from the tourist group isn't actually real. While you could argue that it's simply an over-active imagination, it doesn't really paint a good picture for her mental health overall.
- Deserted Island
- Does Not Like Shoes: Nim is almost always barefoot, unless she's climbing a mountain or going on top of a roof.
- For Science!
- Goldfish Poop Gang: The Troppo Tourists.
- Green Aesop
- Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist
- Homeschooled Kids- Nim is one, although most of the side effects are averted.
- Hikikomori: Alex, moreso in the movie.
- Madden Into Misanthropy: Mild example. After his wife's death, Jack effectively isolates himself and his daughter from human society and doesn't plan on returning anytime soon.
- Married to the Job: Jack loves science A LOT, but it's not portrayed negatively until we see from Alex's perspective that Jack left Nim unattended on a deserted island during typhoon season.
- Meaningful Name: Nim Rusoe, Alex Rover
- Missing Mom: Nim's mother was killed in an accident.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Fred and Selkie, bearded dragon and sea lion, respectively.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Gerard Butler plays Alex Rover, with his natural accent, as well as Nim's father, with a Fake American accent that is truly embarrassing to hear, even when the Scottish vowels and Rs aren't forcing their way out.
- Best seen in the scene where Nim and her father are reunited. About a minute of relieved, Scottish-accented ranting, then he switches back to American in the space of a glance.
- Parental Substitute/Team Mom: Selkie acts rather motherly towards Nim.
- Plucky Girl
- Product Placement: Done with a heavy hand in the movie. Most painfully, Purell hand sanitizer and Progresso soup, although there are a few (barely) subtler examples.
- Samus is a Girl: Alex
- Shout-Out: Nim Rusoe
- Third Line, Some Waiting
- Tomboyish Name: Alex.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Alexandra got over her agoraphobia, travelled halfway across the world, nearly drowned trying to rescue Nim... and Nim proceeds to berate her for not being the hero she pictured from her books.