Okay, yes, I know. I’m late to the game. I was never a big adventure novel reader as a child and, as I’m still getting through my list of must-read classics, I just never got around to reading it before. Of course, I had seen the movies and understood that our version of pirates come from Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel Treasure Island. What I wasn’t prepared for was to be sucked into a fast-paced, blood-drenched island adventure. This is not a story for children, people. Either that or children are a significantly tougher skinned that I remember them being.
Honest review: I could not put it down. From the very first chapter (which are short and easy to digest since it was first published as weekly installments in a newspaper), I didn’t want to put it down. The chapters have wonderful lead-in cliffhangers that make you want to read more. Besides that, the imagery is vivid, so you get pulled into a magical fantasy world that is still so real you feel like it could actually happen to you one day. There is nothing fanciful or so over-the-top in Treasure Island that you can’t believe this to be a true story – you absolutely could and want to. Pirate treasure? Mutiny among scoundrels? An uncharted island? Yes, it’s all possible. Especially in a time with limited communication and no cell phones (gasp!).
I will have to say that I am happy the character of the Squire lost some page space toward the middle. It’s as if Stevenson realized that he was making the character look like a buffoon and to keep the story seeming like a real first person account, he needed to go. Otherwise, the characters are fantastic. Jim obviously does not have the mindset of a child, which he supposedly is, but his naiveté and cunning make him the perfect, relatable hero.
For a quick, classic to add to your reading list, I give this one 5 stars. It’s definitely a must-read for any media-consuming human, because it created what we know now to be a pirate. The rum loving Captain Sparrow has Stevenson to thank for his existence.
Now excuse me while I go looking for a shipping crew to join on a voyage to uncharted waters. I better pack my musket.