Book Review: Treasure Island


Mason Longhurst, Staff Writer

Books are an important part of life. There are thousands of books that have been written, as well as countless others that have been lost. From recording ancient myths and tales to creating a world surrounded by magic, mystery, and tragedy, authors have spun their tales and created worlds beyond imagination. Walt Disney once said “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island”. The movie Treasure Island, released in 1950 by Disney himself, was notable for being his first completely live-action film. Disney’s version also was the first Treasure Island movie made in color.

As is the way with many notable movies, Treasure Island was originally a book. Written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1883, Treasure Island received much acclaim. Originally called The Sea Cook: A Story for Boys, Treasure Island features characters such as Billy Bones, Jim Hawkins, Captain Smollett, Captain Flint, Dr, Livesey, Ben Gunn, and, of course, Long John Silver. The story begins with Jim Hawkins and his mother, who run the Admiral Benbow Inn, meeting Billy Bones, a rum-loving man who refuses to pay his bills and gives Jim a fourpenny piece to “keep a weather-eye open for a seafaring man with one leg”. After Billy Bones, aka “the Captain”, gets into a sword fight with one of his old pirate buddies and gets visited by a man named Pew, he begins to have fits and eventually dies. 

In an attempt to get their pay, Jim and his mother raid the Captain’s chest and steal some coins and an oilskin package. After pirates raid the inn and Pew is run down by a soldier, Jim takes the oilskin package to his friend, Dr. Livesey. Livesey opens the package and discovers a treasure map that they decide points to the treasure of the fearsome Captain Flint. Livesey and Jim plan a voyage to the island to uncover the treasure. They send another character, John Trelawney, to buy a boat and form a crew, but they tell him not to say where they are going. Trelawney acquires a boat, the Hispaniola, and begins to form a crew. When Dr. Livesey and Jim arrive in Bristol, they discover that Trelawney has also formed a good crew. Jim begins to feel worried, however, when he meets Long John Silver, a one-legged sea man who helped Trelawney put the crew together. He feels even worse when one of the pirates, Black Dog, is discovered at Silver’s Inn.

As the book continues, there is mystery, battles, mutiny, castaways, treasure, and a boat crash. Stevenson once said about Treasure Island,”it was to be a story for boys; no need for psychology or fine writing”. And I am sure that many girls will also enjoy this tale of piracy and mutiny on the high seas. The one possible drawback from Treasure Island is that, as it was written in 1883, some of the language might be a little bit awkward or unknown. Still, this is an amazing book. If you don’t want to read the book, there have been twenty-six movies made off this classic, which include Treasure Planet and the Disney version. Treasure Island is an amazing book filled with adventure, and I would recommend reading it whenever possible.