I decided to read Treasure Island after I finished the STARS show Black Sails, because I really enjoyed the show and wanted to read the book they got their inspiration from. To be fair, most pirate fiction probably gets their inspiration from this book, but the show actually used characters from the book to tell their story. And so that is why I struggled through this book for four months. I feel like I’ve lost my reading mojo, because I just couldn’t push past the language to get to the story. Still for starting, or at least defining, a genre you’ve got to give Treasure Island a lot of credit.
The plot should be fairly well known. Young boy encounters old seaman/pirate and after the seaman dies discovers a map to buried treasure among his possessions. Boy enlists help from some people and they commission a ship to go get treasure. As they’re manning the ship they inadvertently hire a bunch of pirates, who are also seeking the treasure. They reach the island where the treasure is buried, the pirates mutiny, there are many battles, the boy proves more resourceful than most adults had given him credit for, eventually they find the treasure and defeat the pirates and everyone goes home wealthy.
I wanted to like this, I find pirate stories to be fun and exciting and this is the book that started it all, but I just never got wrapped up in the story. I kept putting it down and picking up something else. And I don’t know why it didn’t engage me. I used to read and re-read The Swiss Family Robinson over and over when I was younger. Somehow, I think I encountered this particular book too late in life. It was fine, but I wanted to like it a lot more then I actually did like it.
This is worth reading, if only for its influence on the modern perception of pirates. I think that younger readers, who are less familiar with the tropes of pirate stories, would be more enraptured then I.