Book Review: Treasure Island

Treasure Island
By Robert Louis Stevenson

My Edition:
Hardcover, 336 pages
2015, Puffin Pixels
ISBN: 9780147517142

If you don’t already know the plot: young Jim Hawkins and his mother happen upon a treasure map when a resident of their inn dies abruptly. Jim ends up on a voyage to discover the fabled treasure of the infamous Captain Flint thanks to an impulsive squire. Unknowingly, they’ve set sail with a crew manned almost entirely by pirates, the cook, Long John Silver, being the most clever and notorious of the bunch. Adventures ensue.

This is one of the classics I’ve wanted to read for a long time, but have put it off because I wanted to like it and wasn’t sure I would. Turns out, I liked it!

As I mentioned on a Goodreads update, I pictured the entire cast based on that of Muppet Treasure Island because how could I not!? Sadly, there aren’t any original roles for Gonzo and Rizzo, so they were left out of my imaginings. The first half of the movie was surprisingly faithful to the book, song and dance numbers aside. Anyway!

Jim is a smart lad, quick on his feet and fairly brave, which proves useful to his allies several times throughout the story. BookJim has less personality than MuppetMovieJim (ok, I know I need to stop comparing them) yet I found him more likable. Jim is young, around fourteen if I remember correctly (which I probably don’t), and therefore very excited about the chance of an adventure at sea. But he does show an impressive amount of caution once he realizes the danger he’s in. I enjoyed that he admitted his fear in several situations (he’s the narrator, by the way), yet soldiered on. There’s not a lot of a character arc for him (or anyone, really), but he kept my interest.

The story was a faster read than I expected – some classics feel heavy due to the antiquated language and can get incredibly wordy. I flew through this book in a matter of days. The plot keeps a nice pace and the action is spread out amongst Jim’s musings and observations about life at sea and then the island itself. There were some scenes where I had no idea what the hell took place, however. I just know actions took place and as a result, the story moved forward (example: Jim somehow hijacked the ship all by himself) and rather than re-read to clarify, I just plowed forward. So that fault lies entirely with me, but I thought I’d mention it anyway.

All in all, I wasn’t blown away. The story lacks a lot of detail in regards to world and character building (though I was happy to be spared the constant facial and clothing descriptions that often come with more modern works), but the simplistic style did make it easily readable. I’m not sure what the book was missing (Muppets maybe?!), but I wanted just a touch of something more. It was enjoyable, but not a classic I’ll return to. Fairly suitable for younger readers though, as there’s not much in the way of violence and what there is could easily be skimmed over.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Treasure Island

  1. Love that cover!
    I really enjoyed this when I read it couple years ago in college and was surprised too that it’s a fast read. Like you, I thought it would be really slow.

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