It may surprise you to know that the clue to the subject of this book review is within the title! Yes, I decided it was time to read another classic, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. I think I must have read an abridged or kids’ version of the story, being familiar with some of the main characters of the story, such as Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver.
My free kindle version clocked in at 124 pages, albeit 124 very dense pages. I think it’s probably nearer 200 pages if read at a reasonable font size. Nevertheless, it remains a quick read owing to its being a real page turner. The book, originally serialised between 1881 and 1882, has surprisingly well drawn characters, especially that of Long John Silver, who appears far more three-dimensional than any abridged version of the novel would have you believe. As you’d expect, the book is a classic ‘boy’s own’ tale, with treasure, mutiny, pirates and a parrot thrown into the mix. The book reminded me of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, published over 150 years earlier, in terms of elements of style and content, e.g. the desert island. For my money (pieces of eight, no less!) the comparison ends there, with Treasure Island being the far superior of the two. I read Robinson Crusoe a couple of years ago and found it interminably dull. Not a book I’d recommend to anyone. Treasure Island, yes.
Once I’d finished the book I decided to check out the 1950 movie of Treasure Island. Being a Walt Disney production, I had high hopes. The film certainly has high production values and looked wonderful. It felt however that I was watching the book on fast forward, draining the film of any character. I imagine that kids would enjoy the film but I’d not bother if you have the chance.