Monday, July 7, 2014

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

There are many classic novels that are referenced in college courses and podcast discussions and lectures and I always find I am adding new books to my "to-read" list. Treasure Island is one of these books. My initial reason to pick up the book was to do a character study of the ambiguous Long John Silver but being pressed for time, I found a free audiobook on iTunes and started listening at work. I always feel like I am cheating on books when I listen instead of reading, but I excused myself this time. As I began listening to the book at work, a sense of excitement took hold of me. I felt like a young reader again and wanted to drink up every ounce of Stevenson's words. After listening to the first two chapters of the audiobook, I stopped listening and checked the actual book out of the library later that week. The narration was fantastic but the language was even better and I couldn't help but wish, as I listened, that I was reading the words on a printed page.
Treasure Island is a typical adventure story. It is also where many pirates tropes originated. I couldn't believe how much the Pirates of the Caribbean films borrowed from this book! The films certainly carry a similar spirit that makes you want more and more and more! Our main character is Jim Hawkins who runes an inn with his parents by the sea. He lives an ordinary life until a pirate named Bill arrives and Jim's life becomes extraordinary. When a group of pirates raid the inn, Jim and his mother must flee. Before they leave they find a mysterious treasure map. When Jim shows the map to some comrades, they make haste to find a ship and set sail to Treasure Island!
This book was very exciting. It had a lot of twists and turns and was very different from the various adaptions I have seen via the big and small screen. As the story moved forward I grew more and more tired of the...story. I really loved the beginning but the end felt very rushed but perhaps that was because I was reading faster to try and finish the book. Long John Silver is definitely an interesting character though I really love our main character, Jim. I can imagine many young boys inspired to have adventures and bravery like him when this book was first published. The writing was impeccable, there is no denying that. Overall, it wasn't the amazing book I had expected but it was a good read and I'm glad that I have finally read it so that I will hopefully notice other works that borrow from the tale. I will give it 3 out of 5 stars.

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