Treasure Island

ISBN: 0753453800
ISBN 13: 9780753453803
By: Robert Louis Stevenson

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Genres

Adventure Childrens Classic Classics Currently Reading Favorites Fiction Historical Fiction To Read Young Adult

About this book

The most popular pirate story ever written in English, featuring one of literature’s most beloved “bad guys,” Treasure Island has been happily devoured by several generations of boys—and girls—and grownups. Its unforgettable characters include: young Jim Hawkins, who finds himself owner of a map to Treasure Island, where the fabled pirate booty is buried; honest Captain Smollett, heroic Dr. Livesey, and the good-hearted but obtuse Squire Trelawney, who help Jim on his quest for the treasure; the frightening Blind Pew, double-dealing Israel Hands, and seemingly mad Ben Gunn, buccaneers of varying shades of menace; and, of course, garrulous, affable, ambiguous Long John Silver, who is one moment a friendly, laughing, one-legged sea-cook . . .and the next a dangerous pirate leader!The unexpected and complex relationship that develops between Silver and Jim helps transform what seems at first to be a simple, rip-roaring adventure story into a deeply moving study of a boy’s growth into manhood, as he learns hard lessons about friendship, loyalty, courage and honor—and the uncertain meaning of good and evil.

Reader's Thoughts

Suvi

The smaller Suvi, who used to climb on the rocks of the nearby forest and build castles with pillows and sheets into our living room, would have probably appreciated this a tad more than 23-year-old Suvi. Absolutely an entertaining story, after all I did kind of forget myself with this instead of studying. However, I didn't have any particular negative or positive feelings one way or the other. One thing though that would have connected these two versions of me, is the complex and multifaceted character of Long John Silver, whose moral isn't quite as black and white as with the patriotic characters of the novel and the pirates. As far as I know, this moral issue is quite rare in children's literature, at least of this time period.I don't know whether Treasure Island was the first pirate story, but there's a lot of (perhaps stereotypical) conceptions and ideas in here relating to pirates that have survived to this day. The most important of these are at least one legged pirates with a parrot on their shoulder, treasure maps with an X, and buried treasures. The ship Hispaniola sounded familiar, but I have no idea why. There are no wooden legs though, because Silver uses a crutch. Believe it or not, but it doesn't seem he has much difficulties using that on a swaying deck or on a soft sand beach. History buffs might want to know that Israel Hands really existed, and that he was Blackbeard's boatswain.All in all, an entertaining adventure story and deserving of its status as a classic, although maybe not suitable for the smallest children. In addition to the flickering morality of Silver, I noticed that Stevenson doesn't try to glorify piracy in any way. Still, if I had read this sometime before the age of 12, I'd probably started dreaming of similar pirate adventures that Jim Hawkins got himself into. I already thought about what it would be like to run away with the circus (while considering the good and bad aspects of being a lion tamer), or hide myself into gypsies' wagons.

yellowbird

I read books more than once, and it's strange sometimes how my opinion of the book will change as I get older. I reread this book recently (twenty-something years after reading it the first time) and expected to feel nostalgic and ho-hum about the whole thing. Instead, I got sucked into the story just like I did the first time.The main character, Jim, is a very believable person. Unlike characters in a lot of modern fiction, Jim doesn't have any major flaws that he has to work through in the course of the book. He's an ordinary kid, involved in extraordinary events,and that's pretty much it. I found this very refreshing.The story itself is a standard adventure tale. Jim and his mother run an inn that has one very odd tenant that they can't seem to get rid of. He's overdue on his rent, he's cranky, blasphemous, a drunk and apparently owes some dangerous looking people a lot of money. All in all, they'd rather see him gone. While they're trying to work up the nerve to tell the old wreck to get out, a strange visitor comes to the house, gives the old man a paper, and leaves. Their tenant promptly keels over dead. While going through the old man's belongings in search of money to pay his overdue tab, Jim and his mother are interrupted by a group of dangerous men who break into the inn, intent on stealing something very valuable that belonged to their tenant - a pirate's treasure map.Full of pirates, intrigue, danger and general adventure, this book is an easy, satisfying read. Not bad for a story first published in 1883.

Joseph

Long John Silver is a classic character. He'll murder in cold blood minutes before giving a warm reception and he'll mean both. He's a cold calculator with his eyes on the prize but he wears his greed and affection on his sleeve. He's the perfect picture of the charming knave and throughout this story of pirates and treasure you're never sure if you should be rooting for or against him.Fortunately, this tale is so much adventurous fun that you won't spend too much time psychoanalyzing pirates. The plot is dynamic and well paced and there's plenty of action and humor along the way. The characters, aside from Silver, are less important than the story, but all show distinct enough traits to help you keep track of who's who on a large crew.This tale does suffer from some cliches and incomprehensible sea-speak. And the final 1/3 is a bit light in terms of drama and satisfying resolution (the climax comes almost exactly in the middle.) But hey, this is the tale that popularized 'yo ho ho,' pieces of eight, peg-legs and talking parrots and X marks the spot. It's well worth a read just for the references.

midnightfaerie

Treasure Island was a swash-buckling adventure where the stakes were high and the Gentlemen of Fortune weren't so gentle when seeking their fortune. I absolutely loved this book. Having never read it before, I picked it up because it looked to be a quick read, and I had books on route to my house and not much time before they got here, I thought I'd get another quick read off my list of classics. Immediately upon reading I wanted to get on a boat and search for buried treasure, but settled for playing in the sandbox in the backyard. Stevenson brings to life characters in a new and frightening way that held me captivated, in which Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde failed to do. He writes in such a way in this novel, that the characters come to life vividly and with great detail in my mind as I read, even though, when I later went back to re-read parts, the characters weren't defined nearly as minutely as I thought they were. I don't attribute this to my own imagination though. I think Stevenson's brilliance lies in the meticulous vagueness of his descriptions, allowing the reader to take the direction of their choosing with the character's appearance. A perfect example of this is in Ben Gunn. My husband and I were watching Treasure Island with Eddie Izzard, and he commented on the age of Gunn, saying he'd seen another movie where he was old, opposed to this one, in which he was younger in age. So then I thought back to the book and wondered, what age was he? So I looked it up, and really, it could be interpreted in so many ways: "...unlike any man I had ever seen, stooping almost double as it ran..." - As an animal or from old age? "...his voice sounded hoarse and awkward, like a rusty lock. I could now see he was a white man like myself, and that his features were even pleasing. His skin, wherever it was exposed, was burnt by the sun; even his lips were black; and his fair eyes looked quite startling in so dark a face. Of all the beggar men I had seen or fancied, he was the chief for raggedness." - Old? Young? "...I was a civil, pious, boy..." - Speaking of when he was young, makes me see him as older. "You're a good lad, Jim..." - He calls Hawkins a lad, which makes him seem older to me, but then, how old is old? For the time it was and the longevity of life span, especially for the pirates with so hazardous a life, they didn't live long. So maybe in his thirties? Besides the wonderful characters, the chapters were breathtaking, causing me to sit at the edge of my seat with each page turn. What a wonderfully suspenseful tale with such colorful inhabitants! Even the slang was picturesque, with nicknames like "Barbeque" for Silver, and "Long John's Earrings" for the ropes strung across the ships decks that allowed our favorite character to pass easily from port to starboard with his one leg. And even though the movie I saw gave a satisfying death to the despicable Trelawney, I'm rather glad that the book left him alive at the end. It wasn't what I expected and it was more true to life. The abhorrent man, who puts himself off as one of the good guys, never seems to be the one with a bad run of luck. And although Muppet Treasure Island was not exactly true to the original story, (the Captain a frog?), it was still surprisingly accurate in most aspects of the novel, which is something I've always enjoyed about the Muppets, especially in The Christmas Carol. Overall, it was a superb book and an intoxicating adventure. A natural classic, with a huge following, underlying themes, and above all, a great deal of the Magic Factor, it's a story that will live through the ages and continue to be adapted in many ways and various forms for years to come. Treasure Island is a beloved tale for both young and older readers alike. I highly recommend it. ClassicsDefined.com

Anzu The Great Destroyer

Never trust a pirate.I really love pirates… even though I try to ignore the fact that they’re dirty, rapists, murderers, alcoholics, thieves… aaah many bad things but still, I like the concept so here I am reading this book. Since it’s summer I tend to go towards these stories. One of my wishes is to become a pirate for a determinate amount of time. I’d love to sail away for a while with Jack Sparrow… I know, who doesn’t love Jack Sparrow? *daydreams*After reading… and reading… and reading some more I decided that this wasn’t what I expected. I was looking for more adventure and the book was lacking it. I decided to finish it though because it’s a classic and all but I do admit that I made a mistake with this one. Robert Louis Stevenson just takes the fun out of the story. It had potential and it all went to Hell. So thanks Mr. Stevenson, you did a good job on this one. Oh and seriously if you have trouble falling asleep or anything just grab Treasure Island, it’ll cure your insomnia damn easily.Heh I couldn’t help myself and I had to make this advertisement. Hell, here I come!I don’t want to be mean and give it a bad review but the story is mediocre. I know it’s a classic and all and I shouldn’t be expecting comic book action but I can’t help feeling bored with it. Call me names but I can’t give it a good score. It would be a lie. The keyword for this book? Lifeless.Read this review on ZombieHazard.

Werner

Robert Louis Stevenson was an author I became acquainted with very early in life, as the 1959 date suggests; this was my first book by him, and one of the staple favorites of my childhood. (The date is rough; I may have been younger than seven when I first read it, and two is just a guess as to how many times I read it --it was at least that, but maybe more.) My rating is my hindsight assessment of how it stacks up today in the mental canon of literature I've read; but if I'd read it today, with an adult's perspective, my rating might actually be higher.Stylistically, this book has much in common with the author's Kidnapped (without the Scots dialect), and illustrates some of the qualities that lead me to rank him as a favorite writer: a well-crafted plot with a hefty adventure and excitement quotient; vivid, vibrant characters; a solidly moral orientation; a protagonist I could identify with. His formal, 19th-century diction seemed to me back then (and probably also would today) like serious prose for a serious story, and seemed appropriate to the historical setting. (Admittedly, the nautical terms and some of the other vocabulary, using terms outside my experience, was a challenge, but I could usually roughly interpret it from the context --for instance, I could tell that a "lugger" was some sort of boat.) Today, I can recognize the book as a classic of Romantic style (I didn't know what that was back then), with its frank evocation of emotion and exotic --once England is left behind-- tropical island setting and pirate milieu. But Stevenson does not "romanticize" pirates, in the sense that much modern popular culture does; these are brutal, coarse, treacherous cutthroats motivated by greed, with nothing glamorous or charming about them. Long John Silver, of course, is the template for the stereotype of the one-legged pirate captain with a talking parrot; but the formation of the stereotype testifies to the power and vitality of the original creation. I agree with the Goodreads description above that the ambiguous relationship between young narrator Jim Hawkins and Silver is one of the strong points of the book, and the storyline has a coming-of-age theme to it through the relationship, as Jim realizes both that an outwardly jovial and winsome facade can mask a personality capable of very ruthless and self-serving choices --and that, at the same time, the ruthless and self-serving aren't cardboard villains, but human beings.Another similarity to Kidnapped here is that both novels have no major female characters. Indeed, Stevenson wrote this at least partly to please a nephew who was at the age for disliking girls, and had promised him a novel with no female characters except the hero's mother. :-) Given that superstitious 18th-century sailors believed a woman's presence on a ship caused bad luck, that's not an unrealistic situation. So, this isn't a read for fans who insist on having small-r romance with their historical/adventure fiction!

John Yelverton

Classic tale of the sea and pirates. A must read for all young readers.

Amy

I read this book alongside my son, who had been assigned Treasure Island for summer reading. While not necessarily the kind of fiction I typically choose, it was certainly entertaining, however, there *were* large paragraphs here and there I barely paid attention to--paragraphs that were filled with boatswains and coxswains and larboards and mizzenmasts and other such words that mean nothing to me (hypothesis 1: Stevenson was paranoid about being "unauthentic" so he had to throw this stuff in to be convincing....hypothesis 2: some people care about coxswains and larboards...but I don't). I tried to enjoy the lush descriptions of things for which I already had clear mental images of, but couldn't quite do it, but it's not Stevenson's fault that I have had access to many -a-visual-image of such locales as deserted pirate-y islands....Silver's character is, in my opinion, the only one of true interest (and "you can lay to that"), as most others lack the three-dimensional qualities of real people we know. Long story short, if you didn't read this as a kid, it might be a fun summer read--but you aren't missing anything important....Interesting note: the other book Isaac was assigned this summer was To Kill A Mockingbird--we read that one first (it was obviously a reread for me...) and then Treasure Island--putting these two stories together in the same conversation, *did* pique my interest a little more. I ended up drawing some interesting comparisons between Jim and Scout, and about the events that they encounter...food for thought...

Jacob

I'm not big on classics, but this book has started to alter my opinion. Treasure Island is an exciting tale of a young boy named Jim Hawkins on an adventure to find treasure to help support him and his mother. His father is dead, and it's just him and his mother, but then he finds a treasure map, and his life will change forever. They find a ship and crew, and all is going well until they run into pirates.The things I didn't like was that it was a little slow at the beginning like most classics. In classic novels, the author s are descriptive about everything, even when it's redundant. There's not alot of this book that I don't like.There are more good things than bad regarding this book. The storyline is really exciting because once they find the chest and the map, they ball gets rolling and the book gets exciting. It's not a terribly long book, but it's not short either, so it's just the right size.

Anthony

Felt like revisiting my "yute." You really can't read it quite the same way as an adult as you did as a kid. It's a good yarn, but you're so aware of how the stereotypes act to reinforce the "received notions" that support the English class system. Damn that liberal-leaning higher education!:)

Paul

In one of Manny's 1,682 reviews - no, I can't remember which one** - he says that it must have been incredibly exciting being an avid reader of modern novels in the 1880s and 1890s. Not only were they churning out great classics at a rate of knots, they were inventing whole genres - Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Picture of Dorian Gray, HG Wells - and Treasure Island is one of those, a novel which invented a whole a-harr talk like a pirate genre. Stevenson's prose is quite magical, he absolutely convinced me with his descriptions of winds and seas and gunnels and jibs and booms and mizzenmasts and fo'c'sles (it's okay, you can print the whole word - forecastle - there - the printer won't charge you any more) and all of that. Plus, some of the ripest dialogue anywhere -"If that ain't to your fancy, some of my hands being rough, and having old scores, on account of hazing, then you can stay here, you can. We'll divide stores with you, man for man; and I'll give my affy-davy as before to speak the first ship I sight, and send 'em here to pick you up... Refuse that, and you've seen the last of me but musket-balls.""There!" he cried. "That's what I think of ye. Before an hour's out, I'll stove in your blockhouse like a rum puncheon. Laugh, by thunder, laugh! Before an hour's out ye'll laugh on the other side. Them that die'll be the lucky ones.Cap'n Flint says : As well as a ripping yarn, it's also a nifty dissection of the concept of being a "gentleman" which you may take sociologically, politically or psychologically, as suits ye best, ye lubbers. Squaaawk! Pieces of eight! A tot of rum would go down a treat! Skwawwwk!**Update : I found a previous note I'd already written so I can confirm that it was Manny's review of A Rebours where he says :It must have been so exciting to be a novelist in the second half of the nineteenth century. You weren't limited to just creating a novel; if you were talented, you could create a whole new kind of novel. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...1883 : Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson1885 : Germinal : Emile Zola 1886 : The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde : R L Stephenson 1891 : The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde, 18911892 : The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes : Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1895 : The Time Machine : H G Wells 1897 : Dracula : Bram Stoker 1898 : The Turn of the Screw : Henry James 1898 : The War of the Worlds – H G Wells

Madeline

"Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars of Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17- and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof."Regardless of what you think of Treasure Island as a story (and we'll get there, not to worry), its importance in establishing modern adventure tropes can't be denied. So many of the things we think of when we imagine pirates - peg legs, parrots on shoulders, fifteen men on a dead man's chest, the Black Spot - were invented by Stevenson in this book. Basically every single portrayal of pirates created after this story is based in some way on what Stevenson wrote, so if nothing else I appreciate this book for providing us with everything from Captain Hook to Jack Sparrow. ("Captain Jack Sparrow.")So it's just too bad that I didn't enjoy this book as much as I wanted to. Sure, it's exciting for a while, what with the murderous pirates attacking the inn and Jim Hawkins setting out on a crazy treasure-hunting adventure, but around the time they get to the island the plot grinds practically to a halt. It takes chapters and chapters for them to get anywhere or do anything, and I was immensely appreciative of how movie versions of this story make sure to move the action along quickly once they land on the island. Also, Book Jim is kind of an idiot - he stows away with Silver & Co. when they row to the island (even though Jim knows that Silver is evil) just for the hell of it, and he abandons his friends again once they're on the island and have a stronghold set up, because the best thing to do when you're on a strange island full of pirates who want to kill you is go exploring without telling anyone. Also you'll notice in the passage I quoted above, Jim's father is alive at the beginning of the story. He dies pretty quickly, but I prefer how in the movie versions Jim's dad is long gone, having abandoned his son or died a long time ago. It just makes more narrative sense: in order for him to latch on to Long John Silver so quickly, Jim needs to be saddled with enough daddy issues to embarrass a stripper. So in conclusion, I'm glad I read this book, if only to appreciate its cultural significance, but the movie versions I've seen are infinitely more enjoyable. (In case anyone is curious, I have seen two different film versions of Treasure Island. First is Muppet Treasure Island, which makes Stevenson's original seem plodding and boring and horribly miscast - Captain Smollett is and always will be Kermit, and there has never been a better Long John Silver than Tim Curry. Also, Disney's experimental steampunk take on the story, Treasure Planet is highly underrated, in my opinion.)

Heather

Maybe it's because I grew up, along with how many tens of millions of others, with the mythology of pirates in my head, or maybe it's the adrenaline-pumping action of a good adventure story, but I absolutely loved this book. In fact, I had to force myself to set it aside for a few hours at a time, to draw it out as long as I could stand, to savor every aspect of the classic story. I was not, nor am I now, well-versed in pirate lore, or knew at all the tale of Treasure Island and Long John Silver. But I did see the Disney spin on the tale, Treasure Planet, and upon seeing that movie (which I really enjoyed), I knew I had to read the book counterpart. As I said, I loved it. From he foreshadowing and development, to the choice of words and phrase and buildup that left me breathless in all the right places (Hawkins and Hands fighting on the nearly-sinking Hispaniola, the six remaining mutineers finding the treasure has been taken long before they set foot on the island), to Silver himself, a man you can't help put love in spite of good conscience. It all coalesced so perfectly as to make a book that I am happy to add to my "favorites" collection. So, so, so worth the read!

Liz

I liked the Treasure Island, but if I had read it when I was younger I would have LOVED it. Whilst I was reading this book, all I could think of was One Eyed Willy and his 'rich stuff' and of course, THE TRUFFLE SHUFFLE!!I didn't realise the movie Goonies was so heavily influenced by Treasure Island....I loved that movie. The adventure, the danger, the pirates, the rich stuff, Chunk.....it was brilliant.Reading this book made me want to; pull out Goonies and watch it again, travel on a boat to an island somewhere and hike up my shirt and do some belly jiggling.If you have kids read Treasure Island to them now......because it's still good as an adult, but after reading it you can't really run around with a plastic sword in one hand and a bottle of rum in the other screamin' "shiver me timbers where's me buried treasure" into everyone's face....unless of course you want to be cornered by NSW police and tasered to death.

Hollowspine

I have seen the movies, Muppet Treasure Island, that animated one where Ben Gunn is played by a nutty robot, but until I came across "Treasure Island!!!" by Sara Levine I never thought about actually reading the book. Then I thought, wouldn't it be fun if I, like the narrator of Levine's novel, read Treasure Island then of course read her book too. So that is what I did.First of all, I found it rather difficult to locate a copy of Treasure Island that was not illustrated and abriged for children. This seemed odd to me, I thought a classic like Treasure Island would be widely available for both adults and children. Like Frankenstein, which has multiple copies, some of the children's illustrated type and even more copies, with notes, forewarded by various people etc. etc. for adults. Not so with Stevenson's work. Although Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, like Frankenstein, seems to follow those expectations, Treasure Island it seems is only for kids.So, I read Treasure Island from the Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, and I enjoyed the typewriter quality of the old printing, the slight smell of damp and the lovely red library binding. Reading Treasure Island was a good experience all around. I enjoyed the 'aged' book I was reading from, I was engrossed in Jim's adventures and loved some of the odd dialogues, epspecially between Ben Gunn and everyone else. Or the odd bits about cheese or salted goat. The conversations between the characters were chock-full of quoteable chunks and various things it was hard not to want to speak aloud.I did find the book engaging, exciting and at times very funny, but I haven't broken out the index cards yet. Or bought a parrot.

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