I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.
The most popular pirate story ever written in English, featuring one of literature’s most beloved “bad guys,” Treasure Island has been happily devoured by several generations of boys—and girls—and grownups. Its unforgettable characters include: young Jim Hawkins, who finds himself owner of a map to Treasure Island, where the fabled pirate booty is buried; honest Captain Smollett, heroic Dr. Livesey, and the good-hearted but obtuse Squire Trelawney, who help Jim on his quest for the treasure; the frightening Blind Pew, double-dealing Israel Hands, and seemingly mad Ben Gunn, buccaneers of varying shades of menace; and, of course, garrulous, affable, ambiguous Long John Silver, who is one moment a friendly, laughing, one-legged sea-cook . . .and the next a dangerous pirate leader!
The unexpected and complex relationship that develops between Silver and Jim helps transform what seems at first to be a simple, rip-roaring adventure story into a deeply moving study of a boy’s growth into manhood, as he learns hard lessons about friendship, loyalty, courage and honor—and the uncertain meaning of good and evil. (source)
Before I even get into the review, I want to post a bit of a warning. I finished this book 2 days before my wedding, and was super busy in the days that followed (understandably so, of course - I had a LOT going on!). Because of that, I'm posting this review a week after having finished this. In some cases, this could be a good thing - it could potentially have given me more time to mull over my thoughts and really put into words how I feel about the book. Sadly, this is not the case - like I said, I've had a lot going on, and because of that, Treasure Island couldn't have been further from my mind. Because of this, my review may not include everything that I felt upon finishing the book. It simply includes the feelings that remain with me right now. Sorry if my review isn't as complete as a result!
I originally read this book in sixth grade for my "gifted" class, and I don't remember liking it very much. I liked it better than some other books that I had to read for school, but I definitely wasn't blown away by it. After re-reading it as an adult, I'm fairly confident that the paper that I had to write after reading Treasure Island the first time around killed my reading experience, because this time, I loved the book. I fully support the use of classic literature in English classrooms, but I do think that it's a shame that sometimes the academic application of them takes away from the enjoyment of the story.
This time around, I was able to fully appreciate the details of the story that have made it a classic. Jim is a great narrator. This book could have so easily been written from the perspective of Dr. Livesey. Jim could have been a minor character at best. Instead, Stevenson chose to showcase him as the narrator, and I think that this was genius. Jim narrated the story just as, if not more, accurately as Livesey would have, and he also added the benefit of being a young boy who's running around with pirates. Through Jim's eyes, we see that the pirates are not only terrifying, but also fascinating. Jim's age allows him to see the pirates without quite as much bias and allows the reader to really appreciate the adventure.
I sometimes have a hard time with adventure stories because a lot of the time, they're very driven by plot and adventure. While this was the case with Treasure Island, Stevenson knew how to balance everything out. He didn't sacrifice characterization for the sake of conveying a sense of adventure. He knew which parts of the story were able to be skimmed over and which needed more detail. Although Treasure Island is a pretty simple story, I think that it demonstrates how great Stevenson really was at storytelling.
Finally, I was especially blown away by the character of Long John Silver. He's so complex. He's entirely driven by what's most beneficial to him and him alone - he has no sense of loyalty, except to himself. It was thrilling to read about him and wonder what would happen with him (even though I already knew how things turned out in the end). He's such a great character!
Anyway, I really enjoyed Treasure Island and I think that it could be a great book to start with if you've never had a chance to get into classics. It's typically categorized as a children's book, but I think it could be enjoyed by just about anyone and it's really a fantastic story. Sorry again if my review doesn't cover everything it should! Just know that I really liked this one and I definitely recommend reading it!