Review: Treasure Island

Treasure Island
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest! Yo! Ho! Ho! And a bottle of Rum!

Everyone knows this pirate tale. There are movies and alternate versions aplenty out there. The names of its characters have permeated our society. It is a classic. And yet, I had never read it. That particular oversight has now been remedied, and now I am a better man for it, you may lay to that!

I suppose this is considered a children’s tale in modern times (Young Adult), but it is not a tame book. In fact, it would be considered R rated for the violence and death depicted within its pages. But, it is ultimately a book about pirates and buried treasure, so that is to be expected.

When I began to read this book, I was worried that I might find it boring. I have with other ‘classics’ that were foisted upon me by academia. I was quickly disabused of that notion, however. I was pulled into the suspenseful tension and carried along page by page by the mild foreshadowing employed by the author to hint at things to come. The characters immediately began to have depth, even if not an appealing depth. Jim Hawkins, though young and spontaneous, was still a worthy protagonist due to the humility with which his viewpoint narrated the story. The action and pacing of the book were excellent, and I found myself wanting more by the time the novel was concluded.

I can heartily say this is Hearty Read and give it 4 pieces of Eight… umm… stars!

Some more character discussions: (Contains spoilers)

Dr. Livesey, also a middling hero of the tale, along with Captain Smollett, were depicted as the customary English gentlemen with very strong senses of honour (even to their own detriment). Squire Trelawney, was the foolish fob whose impetuousness and braggartry allowed the ruin that befell the crew to take place at all. Fortunately, he is quick to repent once his errors are made plain. And Long John Silver, the villain, is quite the cunning, conniving, self-serving individual. His tricky ways with those of lower mental stamina and higher emotional whimsy allows him to manipulate the foolish quite effectively to his own benefit and aims. The grace shown to him by the other characters when he is forced to reverse loyalties is not something I think I could do; however, that aforementioned sense of ‘gentlemanly honour’ causes them to keep promises that most in today’s world would not even consider.

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