Book Reviews: Treasure Island

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Treasure Island
by Robert Louis Stevenson
★★★☆

This is the essential pirate story. Long before it became a popular topic, this story brought us swashbuckling at its best. Jim is a young English boy grieving the death of his father. When a mysterious treasure map is found, Jim finds himself traveling to Treasure Island aboard the Hispaniola. At the beginning of the story he is an innocent child, but circumstances on the ship force him to grow up quickly. A band of greedy pirates pit themselves against the British officers and soon they must battle it out on the island.

Treasure Island is an epic adventure story and I think it would be perfect for young boys. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I’m really the target audience. I did love some of the characters, like the marooned Ben Gunn, who has been craving cheese for years. Stevenson created a wonderfully likable villain in Long John Silver. You know he’s the bad guy, but he’s so charismatic that you can’t help hoping he might just get away with it.

I’ve read Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and I think he explores the psychology of evil in both books. Obviously Dr. Jekyll dives into a more in-depth look at the duality of human nature, but Treasure Island gives us a small taste of it as well and those elements provide my favorite parts of the book.

14 comments:

Teacher/Learner said...

I remember watching the Muppet movie version & thought it was very boy-centric, too. I think Jekyll & Hyde is very deep, even by today's standards.

Falaise said...

I was part of its target market when I read it many many years ago but still didn't really enjoy it. I have no idea why - it just never gripped me.

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

It's been so long since I read this that I really need to pick this one up again, just to make sure I remember the written story versus what I see on film!

nomadreader (Carrie) said...

I feel like this book is one I should have read as a child and wonder if it could still be enjoyable as an adult. Perhaps this one will wait until I have children and be a good read-a-loud book.

TheWingchairTraveller said...

love your beautiful edition ;) haven't read this since I was a child!

She said...

I loved this one, but I do think I have a little bit of a little boy's reading taste :p Adventure is definitely my thing. Gotta love the Penguin Classic edition!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I love the cover on this version (favorite colors) LOL

Avid Reader said...

Teacher/Learner - I remember the muppet version too! Tim Curry was Long John Silver.

nomadreader - I think I would have enjoyed it more if I was reading it aloud to kids. That's be a great way to experience it.

I'm so in love with all the Penguin editions. I indulged and bought this one as a souvenir in California in August because Stevenson lived there. I think that makes it relevant, right?

Becky (Page Turners) said...

I didn't feel particularly positive about this book I have to admit. I wanted to.. but I couldn't. I feel better about it now that its some time behind me, but the biggest problem I had was with the dense old fashioned language. Normally I really enjoy that sort of thing, but not with this one.

heres my review if you get a chance
http://www.pageturnersbooks.org/2010/03/treasure-island-by-robert-louis.html

Vaishnavi said...

I have been wanting to read this book ever since I was a kid. I love adventure books and books like these are right my up alley. Thanks for sharing :)

Jenners said...

This is on my reading list as part of my "Reading for Dad" project. He was raving about it a few months before he died so I thought I should read it since I never did get around to it before.

Avid Reader said...

Jenners - Books always mean more when you connect them with someone you love. I hope you get a chance to read it soon!

Amanda said...

I would really like to read this one some day, but I read Kidnapped by him and was a little bored by it. I loved Jekyll & Hyde, though!

Avid Reader said...

I haven't read Kidnapped yet. Maybe I'll save that one to read aloud to my nephew. Jekyll & Hyde almost feels like it was written by a completely different author.