I wasn’t new to pirate stories and I wasn’t new to R. L. Stevenson.
I did feel a bit ashamed for not having read ‘Treasure Island’ yet, though.
The name of Long John Silver only brought to my mind an impression, a reflection of what other people had felt in meeting him. I remember reading ‘Inkheart‘ and shivering at the mention of Long John Silver, because Silvertongue seemed to be scared out of his wits by him.
I didn’t even know he missed a leg (that’s how bad it was).
Not to mention, now that I live in Bristol, UK, it seemed quite shameful not to read the very novel that Stevenson wrote here (at the Llandoger Trow, apparently).
So I was completely clueless when I walked into Jim Hawkins’ inn (well, his mother’s) and met The Captain, aka Billy Bones, the one who holds the secret map to the treasure – no spoiler here, trust me.
The story is set in motion when Billy Bones receives the black spot: his former crew gives him a very strict deadline to give them the map, before coming and getting it themselves.
After that, it’s a roller coaster: Jim finds allies in the Squire Trelawney and Dr. Livesey, together they get a ship in Bristol and they gather a crew until finally they set sail towards Treasure Island.
Most of the story is told by Jim’s point of view, as he tells it decades after it happened, spreading a fresh and naïve light on the adventure, all the while giving the reader the benefit of hindsight, making us aware of how actually dangerous it had been to board the pirate ship or face a buccaneer unharmed and unprepared.
There is one aspect I surprisingly loved – because I generally don’t. The good guys (Dr. Livesey, the Squire Trelawney, Captain Smollett and their faithful crew) repeatedly kept themselves righteous, by reminding each others how they were the King’s men, British honourable men.
Anyone who’s read ‘The Lord of the Flies’ has already outgrown this idea that civilization always wins on a deserted island, but in this battle between British men and buccaneers, I easily found relief in the continuous confirmation of honesty and courage.
Therefore, I can say that this story wasn’t just good fun, but it also gave me back a bit of faith in what humans can do and how humans can be.
Then, of course, there were also buccaneers. Nobody’s perfect, right?
Read more about Treasure Island on its Goodreads page.