Review: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

For sheer storytelling delight and pure adventure, Treasure Island has never been surpassed. From the moment young Jim Hawkins first encounters the sinister Blind Pew at the Admiral Benbow Inn until the climactic battle for treasure on a tropic isle, the author creates scenes and characters that have fired the imaginations of generations of readers. Written by a superb prose stylist, a master of both action and atmosphere, the story centers upon the conflict between good and evil – but in this case a particularly engaging form of evil. It is the villainy of that most ambiguous rogue Long John Silver that sets the tempo of this tale of treachery, greed, and daring. Designed to forever kindle a dream of high romance and distant horizons.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Originally published in 1883. My edition is from Bantam, October 1981, with 194 pages. Read for the 2018 Popsugar reading challenge.

The last month of the year rolls around and I was desperate to finish my Popsugar 2018 Reading Challenge. One of the last few I needed to check off out of my 40 prompts was 33.) A childhood classic you have never read. Agh! My definition of classic is a lot different then most peoples definition of “classic”. I don’t like sappy books and I don’t like dramas. Most literary “classics” – for adults or kids- are sappy and or dramas. I racked my brain trying to think of classic kids books…. Where The Red Fern Grows? No thanks. The Secret Garden? Nope! A Wrinkle in Time? Nooo! Bridge to Terabithia? Pass. I’m not saying these are bad books, they just do not appeal to me at all. On any level. I was having a total mind blank of kids books I hadn’t read AND are considered a classic. Just… a total BLANK. I know! There are a tons of kids books I could have picked that would have been ok, but I just couldn’t think of shit. -.-

Then one day I was playing a trivia game and one of the questions was “Who wrote Treasure Island?” and the answer ended up being Robert Louis Stevenson,  who I knew wrote The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde. I was like ” WHHA-?? He did??” I never knew that it was the same author. 😮 And then it hit me… TREASURE ISLAND!! I’m not in to pirates, but I like treasure hunts and action adventure stuff, so Treasure Island would be doable! I knew I had this book when I was a kid, and I knew the basic gist of the story, but I don’t think I had read this book before. I remember ogling the treasure map lovingly as a kid, but I don’t remember actually reading the story. So Treasure Island it is!! I’ll admit it. I was intrigued to finally read this story.

While reading Treasure Island, several thoughts went through my head…

One of my first thoughts was… “Huh?” to when the pirates talk. Many times I had no flipping clue what they said. Jim was often in the same boat as me, thinking to himself “I think they meant so and so” or something along those lines. I didn’t mind a little bit of pirate talk, but when the majority of your characters ARE the pirates, some conversations got a little….confusing. This was, however, my only complaint about the story.

One of the other main thoughts I had while reading Treasure Island was… “Good grief!! Is everyone in this story a total cluster fuck??” Like…. Most of the good guys had zero clue what they were doing the whole time. OMG the Squire! I face palmed almost every time this man did anything! Thankfully he redeems himself by being a good shot. But the good guys weren’t the only ones with problems… The pirates had no clue what they were doing either! :O Backstabbing drunkenness sabotages the adventure almost as much as the inept good guys. I swear, half the time, the only people who seemed to know how to do anything was Jim, the Captain, and Long John Silver!

Another popular thought I had running through my head was… “Wow. Long John Silver is…. not a very nice guy….” I mean. I knew he was a bad pirate (are there good pirates?), and he was the main villain…. but damn, sometimes he was just flat out BRUTAL! The dude breaks someones back with his CRUTCH, and while the man lays there paralyzed, Long John sits on him and repeated stabs the man in the throat and chest til he is well passed dead. That’s pretty messed up. And he is such an unreliable guy (duh). He flips sides so many times and tells you just what you want to hear. Yes, he saves Jim’s life, but you sit there and think “Ok, so what does Long John get out of it though???” Because that’s just it… everything the man does is so calculated, you don’t know what to believe from him. You get the impression, more then once, that he would gladly kill everyone of the characters in a heart beat if he could get away with it and sail his ship away by himself. I also added to this thought- “…. and we named a fast food place after this horrible guy?? 😮 ”

My last thought about this book is… “Wow. It does NOT make pirate life very romantic…” These are not fun pirates. Or handsome pirates. Or clean pirates. This is not Disney. They are not Captain Jack. No. These are some nasty, horrible men. They enjoy killing other people, even if you are a part of the crew you are not safe. They are sneaky and cutthroat. And they do not give a fuck about anything other then themselves getting paid with treasure. You see pirates in movies and yeah, they do bad stuff, but… I don’t know. In the movies it’s so much more watered down version of bad stuff. It’s almost a comical thing. But in the book… you really got a feel for how terrible these men really were. You felt fear and tension as you thought about how you’d handle being stuck on a boat or an island with these men that outnumber you and your party. Scary.

Treasure Island is definitely one hell of an adventure story. It does not make me want to get on a boat and go look for treasure though, I can tell you that. The voyage was plagued with so many problems and danger. No thank you, I am just find sitting at home reading about this instead! And I did enjoy reading it. I’m very happy that I picked this to read.

One thought on “Review: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

  1. I still have my original copy from when I was a young girl. I don’t remember it really and now I’m curious if I’ll like it. Might give it a reread.

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