I first read this book at the age of 12 ,nearly 30 yrs ago, and was completely bowled over by it. For the the three weeks it took me to read it, I was in another world, entranced by the drama of a balloon with 5 eople and a dog in it caught in a violent storm and then crashing into the sea, the desparate search for a lost companion, scientific calculations used to establish the castaway's location, the descriptions of flora and fauna, the making of Granite House, the finding of Ayrton,the arrival of the pirates and so on. The detailed descriptions were what got me. It was like Verne had the island in front of him, it was like he'd done all these things himself.
At the age of 42 I still have the book, having recently got it rebound as the book was falling apart. I am currently re-reading it for the umpteenth time, and I have to say, it is still an amazing ,riveting read. Some things , perhaps, seem a little unbeleivable, such as the making of tools from scratch, and also of clothes, and the telegraph. But ,nonetheless, the triumph of human spirit and knowledge, and the ability of a group (i.e the castaways), faced with great adversity, to work together for the good of all , makes The Mysterious Island a compelling read, even after all these years. It is a longstanding favourite book of mine, and one I would recommend to all.
The version I have is the abridged version (312 pges)published by Scholastic book Services October 1974 with a forward by Mark Hillegas.