A couple of months ago I joined the Classic Books Club and committed to reading 50 classics in 5 years. Treasure Island was my first.
Before I started reading Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, the only thing I knew was that it was about adventure, pirates and treasure.
I was pretty much right.
The story starts off at the Admiral Benbow, an inn run by a family of three, where a pirate named Billy Bones decides to take residence. Jim Hawkins, the innkeeper’s son, befriends the pirate and ends up with his treasure map. With map in hand, he sets off on a quest aboard the Hispanola to Treasure Island in search of gold. The real trouble starts when there is mutiny, led by the ship’s cook, Long John Silver.
Now, Long John Silver reminded me a lot of Jack Sparrow, although not as foxy, because throughout the book you couldn’t tell who’s side he was on half the time and he couldn’t be trusted. The difference? Jack had a good heart, even if he was always flipping sides ~ I wasn’t convinced about Silver’s heart.
I found reading the book to be a bit difficult at times because it was written in the late 1800s and they spoke differently back then with a lot of “said I”, instead of “I said” and the phrase, “and you may lay to that” was used quite a bit. Both of these ripped me right out of the story ~ they just jarred me out and I had to force myself past them to get back into the story. Here’s an example of the “said I” debacle, but a great line anyway ~
“One more step, Mr. Hands,” said I, “and I’ll blow your brains out! Dead men don’t bite, you know,” I added with a chuckle.
Other than that, it was well written. I knew exactly what the characters and scenes looked like, I could hear them talking and the story itself was well paced.
I loved when I came across times in the book that reminded me of Pirates of the Caribbean:
- Dead man’s chest
- peg legs
- treasure map
I know it’s backwards, but I could almost see Captain Barbosa and Captain Jack Sparrow aboard the Hispanola. Then again, maybe I just want to see Jack everywhere, eh?
My favorite line in the book was this
That was, at least, the end of that; and before noon, to my inexpressible joy, the highest rock of Treasure Island had sunk into the blue round of sea.
One last thing I want to say about Treasure Island has nothing to do with the book and everything to do with fast food. Fast food sea food, that is. I’m talking about the restaurant, Long John Silver’s.
When Silver was introduced in the book, I thought, “Cool! That’s where they got the name for the restaurant.” When he was revealed as a mutineer, I thought, “Why the hell would they choose a mutineer, of all people, to name a restaurant after? How stupid is that?”
After much thought and deliberation on the matter, I realized that they named the restaurant Long John Silver’s because…
…he was the ship’s cook.
*Places dunce cap on head and stands in the corner*
Overall, Robert Louis Stevenson did an excellent job telling a tale and setting the stage for all future stories about pirates and treasure and adventure, and you may lay to that.
Have you read Treasure Island? What did you think of it, says I? What classic book have you read recently? Do you see Captain Jack Sparrow everywhere too?