Treasure Island | book review

Well, that was quite a reading slump I was in, wasn’t it? Sorry I’ve been so late on my reviews — I just got bogged down. I finally finished Treasure Island and hopefully my girlfriend will be happy now. I can’t say that it was my favorite book, but I have to say it wasn’t bad. I’m glad she pushed me to read it; I probably wouldn’t have read it on my own.


Title: Treasure Island
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Series: n/a
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 303
Publisher: Penguin Group
Original Publication Date: 1882
Genre(s): Classics, Middle-grade, Adventure


Thirteen-year-old Jim Hawkins works at an inn that his parents own. When a shady seaman takes up residence in the inn, bad things start to happen, and Jim soon finds himself in the middle of a sticky situation. With a treasure map in hand, Jim, with the help of Squire Trelawney and Dr. Livesey gather a crew to find these riches, teaming up with the one person they should never has trusted: Long John Silver. This decision may wind up getting them killed.

The Plot

I’ll admit it: I’ve seen Treasure Planet. I actually really like that movie and, until I was in college, had no idea it was (loosely) based off a classic novel. As I’ve mentioned, my girlfriend convinced me to read it because it’s her favorite book, and so here we are. I’ll admit, at first, it was really hard not to picture Long John Silver as a cyborg, Dr. Livesey as a dog-looking doctor, and Ben as a strange robot thing. Nope, they were all just plain, human beings. And they were sailing the ocean, not flying through space. Yeah, you can see why Treasure Planet is pretty freakin’ rad.

Treasure Island grew on me, though. At first, I was literally only reading it at my girlfriend’s request. I was reading it begrudgingly, even, because she was actually and seriously angry at me for focusing on my TBR list rather than reading her cherished childhood favorite. A lot of it was plot, scene description, and inner monologue on Jim’s part. But finally, finally, about halfway through, we get to the good stuff. Yep, the three M’s: mutiny, murder, and maliciousness. Then I couldn’t put the thing down! I just wanted to know what happened to everybody. There were a lot of deaths.

The story is told in first-person POV from Jim’s perspective, with a slight shift in narration for a couple chapters in the middle where the doctor interjects. There are 6 parts to the novel, each describing a different leg of Jim’s adventure from his English hometown village to a deserted Treasure Island. It got boring from time to time, but the action in the middle is worth it.

The Characters

I didn’t really find myself too attached to anyone in this novel. It’s more about the adventure than the characters or their arcs. Obviously I had a soft spot for Jim, and even for the doctor, so I guess I was rooting for them the whole time. My girlfriend really likes Silver; she even wrote a paper on him in college for our adaptation class. She likes bad guys, I guess. I, myself, wasn’t a big fan of that shady pirate. I didn’t trust him and he was obviously only acting in his best interest. I wish there would have been more emotion, but I can see how that wouldn’t really fit in this novel, let alone the genre. I can definitely see the appeal this novel had on young boys in the 1800s.

The Writing

Robert Louis Stevenson had a way with words. He was a master at setting the scene and describing the imagery. He was excellent at keeping the suspense. I hated all the pirate-talk, though. I mean, I get it, that’s totally how they talked, but reading it is such a hassle. I think that’s why it took me so long to push through this book. The dialogue took some time, some thinking.

Overall, though, I really did enjoy this novel. It sure as hell beats the only other work I’ve read from Stevenson: “A Child’s Garden of Verses.” Not for me. Although, I have to admit Treasure Planet still has my heart.



2 thoughts on “Treasure Island | book review

  1. Treasure Island is easily on my list of top ten favorite classic books. I also feel that it had a hand in furthering romanticizing and popularizing pirates, or, in other words, I don’t know if we’d have Pirates of the Caribbean, the movies as well as the ride, the video games Monkey Island, and other popular pirate entertainment without this book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, I very much enjoy the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series and can definitely see how “Treasure Island” influenced it and other pirate entertainment. It is certainly a revolutionary and classic novel.

      Liked by 1 person

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