For sometime I have wanted to read this book, receiving a copy of this free when I installed kindle and then me popping it on my Classics Club list, were eventually enough of an incentive to get round to it. This is my second foray into the writing world of Stevenson, unfortunately my first was unsuccessful. My father has a copy of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde so I started with that which I’m afraid I didn’t like. I was holding out a lot of hope that Treasure Island would restore my faith in Stevenson. I picked this book up while I was on holiday in Tenerife seemed like a perfect read while on a tropical island.
The young Jim Hawkins lives and works at the Admiral Benbow Inn which is owned by his father. One night a buccaneer by the name of Billy Bones comes to the inn seeking a room and discretion. Jim and his mother know Billy Bones is trouble but Jim’s father is desperate for the money. And trouble is just what he is, the old sea dog drinks them nearly dry and his money to pay for it all soon dries up too, the stress of it all eventually kills Jim’s father leaving Jim and his mother alone. At night a band of buccaneers led by blind Pew attack the inn, Jim and his mother manage to escape but in possession of the very thing the buccaneers wanted, Billy Bones’ treasure map. Jim takes the map to a family friend Dr Livesey and with the financial help of Squire Trelawney they all set sail on the Hispaniola to find the treasure on a mysterious island. But all is not what it seems about the ship’s cook John Silver while he makes friends with Jim and bows to the officers he is really planning a mutiny to take the treasure for himself.
Treasure Island is a real rip-roaring adventure that I just couldn’t put down, I actually spent a whole day happily lying in the sun reading this book, and what an apt setting that was. The narration follows almost exclusively the young Jim Hawkins (with one exception where narration switches to his family friend Dr Livesey). I really liked Jim he is young, brave, clever and often naive but you can’t help but root for him. I loved his excited description of the port of Bristol, the ship, the crew, and just the whole experience of going on an adventure to sea. His enthusiasm was infectious. The whole book is full of memorable characters though including the fool-hardy Squire Trelawney, the robust Captain Smollett, the wise Dr Livesey, the mad Ben Gunn, and of course the devious Long John Silver who you just love to hate! I’d have a hard time of picking a favourite character actually. The novel isn’t that long however Stevenson has packed it full of adventure, intrigue, and questions of morality. I am only sad I didn’t read Treasure Island sooner can imagine it is even more magical as a child.
I don’t have a bad thing to say about Treasure Island I highly recommend it to all. Obviously The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was just a blip for Stevenson and me, I really look forward to reading his other novel Kidnapped that I have on my Classics Club list.