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Nim's Island 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.
- Deserted Island
- Does Not Like Shoes: Nim is almost always barefoot, unless she's climbing a mountain or going on top of a roof. See Foot Focus below.
- Foot Focus: And how. Nim's idyllic tropical island and relaxed way of life lead to her going barefoot a lot. When she does wear shoes, they're an easy slip-off type with no socks. There's even a scene where she casually talks on the phone and has the phone cord threaded through her toes. In fact, pretty much anytime one of the three leading actors (Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster, or Gerard Butler) is barefoot, the director makes damn sure you know about it.
- For Science!
- Goldfish Poop Gang: The Troppo Tourists.
- Green Aesop
- Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist
- 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.