Friday, August 28, 2015

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

While Jim Hawkins is helping run his family’s inn, a crotchety sea captain comes to stay at their establishment. However, the captain is not a welcome tenant. His heavy drinking and violent outbursts frighten the other guests. But the captain’s tyranny vanishes when an old shipmate discovers his location. With no place to hide, and a pirate death sentence upon his head, the captain has no one to trust except Jim. Before his blood-thirsty crew can get to him, the captain dies leaving Jim and his recently widowed mother a map to the untold riches of Treasure Island.

Written in the 1880s, Treasure Island is the originator of childhood adventure stories. So much of juvenile literature today is based on many of the concepts Stevenson developed in his novel. These include an observant young protagonist who must decide his own destiny, a villain who seems friendly but has ulterior motives, understanding adults who support the young protagonist’s efforts, the young protagonist fighting his own battles using his wit and ingenuity, and the rewards of seeing a hard situation through to the end. At times, the language may seem out-of-date and wordy to today’s standards, but the story is an enveloping action adventure. A must-read for ages 12 and up.     

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