Book Review: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

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I bought this eBook.
This post was previously posted on Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing.

My rating for Treasure Island – 5

“Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson is an 1883 fictional adventurous and classic pirate story.  The book follows Jim Hawkins,  a young man, who has found a treasure map and with the help of friends hires a crew to find the treasure.  But the crew has their own plans.

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Robert Louis Stevenson

I read “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson as a young boy and always remembered it as one of my favorites. Recently, as part of a classics book club, I read it again.

The two main characters of the book, Jim Hawkins and Long John Sliver have certainly cemented themselves as two of the most intriguing and dimensional characters in literature. I was happy to reconnect with them almost as if they were old friends.

The first half of the book was a breeze to read, but the second half was a bit more difficult due to the pirate’s slang, cumbersome metaphors and tongue tied conversations.  However, I quickly re-discovered that those quirks were part of the charm of the book.  Even Jim Hawkins admits he has trouble understanding the narrative – so I wasn’t alone.

I read the Barnes and Noble classics version, which came with a fascinating biography of Stevenson especially regarding “Treasure Island”.  The book was actually written for Stevenson’s stepson, after painting the island he started the novel and completed 15 chapters.  Stevenson finished the book in Switzerland writing a chapter a day.

Unknowingly, Stevenson created much of the pirate lore which we have been accustomed to.  The pirate speaking almost unintelligibly, a parrot on his shoulder, missing a foot and ready to double cross his best friends for a buck or two.

My biggest surprise upon reading “Treasure Island” as an adult was that I realized that the story is not about Jim Hawkins, but about Long John Silver.  Granted that usually the villain in any book is usually more colorful and fun than the upstanding protagonist – but this discovery has taken by surprise.  Silver’s moral ambiguity is well known but just how amoral the character is I never fully realized as a naïve child (even though I have become a naïve adult).

I was happy to discover that “Treasure Island” truly deserves its status as a beloved classic.  The story is suspenseful and the adventure can be enjoyed by children of any age.

I the mid 18th Century at a seaside village in south-west England Jim Hawkins, the young son of the keepers of the Admiral Benbow Inn, meets and old seaman named Billy Bones. Quickly Jim discovers that Bones is a pirate and that his old crewmates want Bones’ sea-chest.

Bones dies and Jim opens his sea-chest to collect the money owed to the inn – only to discover a mysterious oilskin packet.  The packet is a detailed map of an island Jim, together with Dr. Livesey and Squire Trelawney, hire a crew to sail to the island.

But the crew are not the honest sailors they think they are and the sea-cook, Long John Silver, turns out to be the most dangerous one of them all.

Jim Hawkins, Long John Silver and his parrot

Get a discount on “Treasure Island” through the ManOfLaBook affiliate account on:
Amazon |Book Depository US | Book Depository UK

Zohar – Man of la Book

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