I have had a copy of Treasure Island for a long time, though I can’t remember exactly why I bought it. It’s one of those cheap paperbacks that now has yellowed pages, doesn’t open fully, and smells funny. But, since I needed to read a book about pirates for a reading scavenger hunt, and I owned it, it fit the bill. Now how in the world can I even review a classic such as this? I can’t, so I really won’t.
The story never interested me as a kid. I remember the Disney movie, and though it was made well before I was born, the story seemed about as interesting as the westerns my grandparents used to watch, which is to say, not. At. All. I must say that I did enjoy the book and can see how it captured the imagination of generations of people, especially because of the manner in which it is written. They way the people spoke and wrote back then just really makes you feel like you are there and you’re hearing a great yarrrn.
For those of you who don’t know the story, it’s about an old captain who comes to the Admiral Benbow Inn, which Jim Hawkins’ father and mother run in near a port town. He decides to take up residence there, and one of the first things he tells Jim is to be on the lookout for a one-legged man. Cap’n Bill also enjoys his grog, singing pirate ditties and telling stories of the sea. He takes a liking to Jim, a boy at the time (though you never know exactly how old he is).
Jim’s father is very ill, and in fact, the very day that he dies, some unsavory types find and visit the old captain, and give him the sign of death – the black spot. Our friend, after the bad ones have left the building, collapses and dies on the spot. Jim and his mother have to go and hide, because the crew is to return soon. Return they do, and they pull everything out of Bill’s sea trunk. They don’t find what they are looking for, mainly because the pouch that Jim found at the bottom of the trunk is now in his possession.
Jim takes the pouch to the local squire’s house, and together, along with the local doctor, they discover a map. A treasure map. Instantly, they are all in agreement that they should get a ship, a crew and go find the treasure of the infamous pirate, Captain Flint. It is during this time that the most agreeable sailor, Long John Silver, makes an appearance. He pulls together the crew, with him as the cook, and they take off. Little do they know, some aboard may not be the most honest of folk, and might be planning on finding the treasure and keeping it for themselves. There are confrontations, curses, surprises, appearances and disappearances – and plenty of rum (yo ho ho!).
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson was originally published in 1883. The edition that I own was published by Magnum Books in 1968.
Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult Historical Fiction Mystery Action/Adventure Classics
Ages: 13 and up
COYER Scavenger Hunt #70: Read a book with a pirate as one of the main characters. (5 points)