Monday, March 6, 2017

Classic Review: Treasure Island

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, December, 1998 (originally published in 1882). 206 pages. Published by Signet Classics. Source: Own.
The most popular pirate story ever written in English, featuring one of literature’s most beloved “bad guys,” Treasure Island has been happily devoured by several generations of boys—and girls—and grownups. Its unforgettable characters include: young Jim Hawkins, who finds himself owner of a map to Treasure Island, where the fabled pirate booty is buried; honest Captain Smollett, heroic Dr. Livesey, and the good-hearted but obtuse Squire Trelawney, who help Jim on his quest for the treasure; the frightening Blind Pew, double-dealing Israel Hands, and seemingly mad Ben Gunn, buccaneers of varying shades of menace; and, of course, garrulous, affable, ambiguous Long John Silver, who is one moment a friendly, laughing, one-legged sea-cook . . .and the next a dangerous pirate leader!

The unexpected and complex relationship that develops between Silver and Jim helps transform what seems at first to be a simple, rip-roaring adventure story into a deeply moving study of a boy’s growth into manhood, as he learns hard lessons about friendship, loyalty, courage and honor—and the uncertain meaning of good and evil.
First Sentence
Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17-and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof.

I readily admit that I am a terrible person to buddy read with. I either get behind in the book or zip right on through it...kind of like what happened whilst doing a group read of Treasure Island. In my defense, it's one of my favorite books and I just could not slow myself down.

  • From the first time I read Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, and have loved it the six or seven times I have reread it. There's just something about a book about adventure on the high seas and a quest for treasure that amuses me. Well that and that the characters in the book are somewhat different then one would expect. Like the seemingly nice fellow who would have cut-down a certain pirate without a second thought; or the pirate who was more concerned with keeping his life than in out-in-out murder.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, he really excelled at writing a roaring adventure. As much as I enjoyed the sheer thrilling feats of bravery (and lots of stupidity), it was the character that really made me enjoy it this time around. I noticed so much more about the characters themselves this time than I did on my previous reads of it. Example: Jim Hawkins is one VERY lucky boy to have survived his reckless, yet fortuitous actions. Seriously though, the kid should have died a number of times throughout the book because of his brashness. Then there were some of the other key characters; I noticed things about them that I missed last time, too. I'd tell you more, but spoilers.
  • Even now, I still think RLS did an amazing job with the setting and characters. He really knew how to write scenes that were both gripping, in terms of danger and adventure, and his characters had more depth, both good and bad, then you would first expect. His writing is one reason that I periodically revisit this book. It really does stand up well to multiple readings; which not too many books do these days.

Final Verdict: Treasure Island- If you haven't read it yet, get thee to the library or bookstore and read it! Seriously, it is well worth reading (and a classic for a reason)!!

Treasure Island earns

So, yeah, I own a copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

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