Treasure Island

I read this about three years ago, but since it was in my pre-blogging days (wow, remember those?) my review reads like this: “I never read this as a kid (again, it’s a “boy book”) but I sure had fun with it as an adult. It’s the classic pirate story; it’s a grand adventure! “

Um, not very informative, is it?

Since I was given the opportunity to re-read Treasure Island for an online book group I’m “attending” (seeing as I can’t go to my in-person one for a few months; hubby’s got a night class that’s on Tuesday nights. Sigh.), I thought I’d take the opportunity to be a bit more specific.

I had a great time with it. It’s wonderful when a book reads just as well the second (or third, or tenth) time through. I basically remembered the plot, and I still marvelled at the fact that this book is bascially driven by a 11- to 13-year old boy (anyone know how old Jim is??). If it wasn’t for him befriending Billy Bones, he wouldn’t have gotten the map. If it wasn’t for him, the mutiney wouldn’t have been discovered. If it wasn’t for him, the ship wouldn’t have been secured. Maybe it’s plausable that a 12-year-old boy could have done much of what Jim did, but honestly, I didn’t care.

The one thing I didn’t get was Long John Silver. Was he really a bad guy? Well, yes, and no. He was willing to kill for the treasure, but he was also willing to sell out just about anyone. I liked him, but I also found him annoying. I didn’t get why everyone feared him (maybe because he wasn’t exactly trustworthy), but I never really felt the full force of his temper. He was kind of an amusing aside. I found Billy Bones in the beginning to be more disturbing than Long John Silver.

I wonder about pirate stories, too. What’s the appeal? Why does Pirates of the Carribean do so well (aside from Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom, of course)? There was nothing romantic, or exciting, or honorable about pirate’s lives. They were vicious, violent, and vengeful. But then, we tend to glamorize all sorts of crime (I can only think of movies here: Oceans 11/12; The Italian Job; Gone in 60 Seconds…). Why is that? Because they’re “bad”? Because the grass is always greener on the other side? Because we want to justify our nice, quiet little lives? Or maybe it’s because we have nice, quiet little lives and we want some excitement?

Whatever it is, this certainly fits the bill.


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