Jim's Reviews > Treasure Island

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
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Jul 24, 2012

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Read in July, 2012

I found "Treasure Island" a pretty enjoyable read: it was a book I liked sitting down with for a couple of hours at a time. It's not too intensely suspenseful--in part by author's clear intention, as he often will foreshadow that various things come out all right--but nevertheless the plot moves along quickly and engagingly. The characters are generally rather bland outlines, with the exception of Long John Silver, whose place in the pirate pantheon (spoiler! He's not just a genial sea cook!) is well deserved. Interestingly, one of the things that sets Silver apart is his obvious prudence and rational self-control--something lacking not only in all the other pirates, but also in Squire Trelawney and the hero Jim himself. (The captain and the doctor, the other important protagonists, do seem to be of a similar prudential mold to Silver, which makes their occasional interactions more subtle and complicated than most of the characters' interactions in the book.)

One of the most endearing features of the work is the habit that almost every character develops of using nautical language to describe virtually every feature of their situation, no matter how land-bound. It initially seems to be a habit of the pirate characters, like Billy Bones or Silver, but pretty soon everybody's doing it, and it really makes the language colorful and quietly humorous. I don't have the book on hand, so unfortunately I can't dig out any choice examples.

I have the "Junior Illustrated Edition" (maybe it was my dad's when he was a kid?), and the illustrations really are quite good. Unfortunately sometimes the color plates depicting a critical scene come many pages before the scene is described in the text, which makes for some mini-spoilers.

One last idiosyncratic note: I'm sure I read this, or had this read to me, when I was a kid (maybe 8-ish?), but I had almost no recollection of any of the plot after the boat leaves England. Weird.

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