Robert Lewis Stevenson
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.
Believe it or not, this was the first time for me to read Treasure Island! I’m not sure why, really. I loved Robert Lewis Stevenson’s “A Child’s Garden of Verses” as a child, and it’s always been on that “plan to read sometime” list for me. So, I put it on my Classics Club list. I recently started a new job and I have a 30 minute commute one-way. So, to & from work I have 1 hour in the car to myself. I decided that while I can’t really READ during this time, it would, however, be a great time to give a listen to some more audio books. I’m relatively new to audio books, and a fellow book lover pointed me to the LibriVox app, which has all sorts of public domain literature, many of which are classics, on audiobook. Since it’s volunteer work, I’ve heard that some renditions are better than others. I came across an excellent version of Treasure Island read by Adrian Praetzellis. He was fabulous and did a great job with all the “pirate talk” in the book and the voicing of different characters.
The book itself is not one that I would particularly classify as a children’s book, although it’s been marketed as such for years. There is a lot of violence in the book — more than half of the crew are killed at some point, and it describes much of the violence in detail. The villain though is a lovely villain. Clever and smart is Long John Silver. The book is full of adventure and I can see why it’s a classic and should be on everyone’s “to read” list at some point or other. Who’s not to love this great pirate tale!
Would I recommend this to fellow book lovers? Aye, matey!
Would I recommend this to my teen daughter? Yes! All three of my daughters were actually in a production of “Treasure Island” last year. My eldest played Dr. Livesey & the other two were pirates. I think she would enjoy it.
5 of 5 stars