I’d grown up hearing all about Treasure Island and Robert Louis Stevenson, but never really got around to reading any of his books. They sounded like books for boys to me and, despite being a tomboy, my literary tastes skewed towards the feminine (e.g. Sweet Valley Twins and The Baby-Sitters Club).
Well, I recently began my formal education in books for boys with Treasure Island. It was a fun, swashbuckling adventure, and there were parts that made me make surprised faces in public while I was reading it.
It reads a little Robinson Crusoe-y, mostly because of the language, but it’s still lots of fun.
Jim Hawkins is a young boy whose parents run the Admiral Benbow Inn. When an old seaman of great belligerence and dubious character comes to stay at the Admiral Benbow, Jim’s life is changed forever.
One of the things that surprised me most about the book was the portrayal of pirates as thieves and marauders. You may ask why this surprised me, and I think it’s because pirates are portrayed in today’s media as though they’ve got their own moral code, and are good at heart. They don’t, and they aren’t. This is still true of pirates today. These men (and sometimes women) steal and kill to make a profit, and they don’t care who they hurt as long as they get what they want. They’re ruthless, and Stevenson portrays them as such.
We see characters like Captain Jack Sparrow in the movies and think they’re pirates. After reading Treasure Island, I’d say that Captain Jack Sparrow is to pirates what Edward Cullen is to vampires.
Anyway, there’s action aplenty, as well as some survival stuff. I do love a good wilderness survival story.
As children’s books go, this one may be a must-read for boys, but I think it’s fun for girls, too. I may be about twenty-five years behind the curve on this one, but I’m glad I eventually got to it.