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A Treasure Among Literature

By Corliss Jacobs

About two years ago, I watched the Disney movie Treasure Planet with my siblings. I h

ad no idea it was based off of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson at the time. I doubt you'll find a person alive who doesn't like pirate stories, me included, so I decided to read and review it. I am happy to report that it is one of the best pieces of fiction I have ever had the pleasure of reading. After all, Treasure Island is one of the first classic pirate stories, defining pirate literature to this day.

James Hawkins, called Jim, is a young boy who lives with his mother and father in the old Admiral Benbow Inn, near Bristol in England. An old sea dog, Billy Bones, takes up residence there, bringing with him the threat of a bloodthirsty pirate crew who is trying to hunt him down. After a tragic series of events, Jim witnesses the death of his father, Billy Bones, and the destruction of the Benbow Inn. But his luck changes when he comes into possession of a precious map, leading to a massive pirate treasure store left behind by the late Captain Flint — a fortune that a crew of vicious pirates — the same crew that was chasing Billy Bones — would kill to get their hands on. To find the treasure and rebuild the inn, Jim embarks as a cabin boy on a voyage to find Treasure Island. Surrounded by timeless characters such as the cool-headed Captain Smollett, the wise Dr. Livesy, the brave Squire Trelawney, and, of course, the clever and fearsome Long John Silver, Jim battles with treachery, hardship, and lots and lots of pirates in order to find the treasure and return home.

Since I am personally a huge fan of Treasure Planet, a part of me was worried that I’ve seen it too many times to enjoy the original book. But those fears were quickly settled as I got completely hooked on this thrilling high-seas adventure. When some people think of classic books, they assume it will be a wordy, boring, dusty old book where nothing really happens. In that case, I invite them to open up Treasure Island. From the mysterious pirate showing up at the inn to the bloody battle at Treasure Island all the way to the suspenseful hunt at the end, Jim and the crew are thwarting danger at every turn — but not to a degree where all the action becomes tiresome. In fact, much of the suspense in this book is the watching, waiting, and planning of Jim and the crew as they prepare to battle and outlast the pirates they are up against.

Jim is a great protagonist, and it's amazing to watch him grow from a boy to a man over the course of the story. Long John Silver is a fantastic antagonist. He checks every one of the boxes of fictional villainy — he is entertaining, he poses a great threat, and he has great personal conflict with the main heroes. Overall, a rollicking pirate tale that is satisfying, gripping, and just plain fun, capturing the Golden Age of Piracy in its timeless pages. None of us condone piracy itself, of course, but there is something about those old, sea-salt stories that awaken the imagination and the spirit of adventure, and continue to do so thanks to the influence of books like these. 5/5, a great book to read aloud to your children or just to enjoy yourself. Either way, if you’ve never read Treasure Island — it’s high time, me hearties! Great treasure awaits!

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