Treasure Island (Review)

October 13, 2010

Book cover for "Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson.Title: Treasure Island

Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Narrator: Alfred Molina

Publication Year: 1888

Pages: 184 (audio length: 7 hours 9 minutes)

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult

Source: Free audiobook download from AudioSync

From the cover:

Robert Louis Stevenson’s cherished, unforgettable adventure magically captures the thrill of a sea voyage and a treasure hunt through the eyes of its teenage protagonist, Jim Hawkins.

Crossing the Atlantic in search of the buried cache, Jim and the ship’s crew must brave the elements and a mutinous charge led by the quintessentially ruthless pirate Long John Silver. Brilliantly conceived and splendidly executed, it is a novel that has seized the imagination of generations of adults and children alike.

It’s really hard to figure out how to review a classic. I’ve done it before – and will do it again – but I always struggle with how to approach it.

Usually, it’s a short review, and this one will be no different.

I started reading Treasure Island once when I was a kid, but then I realized that I was reading an “abridged” version that was meant for younger children even than what it was originally written for, so I abandoned it. I’ve thought a few times about giving it another go, but never did. This summer, the audio version narrated by Alfred Molina was one of the audiobook downloads available through AudioSync, and I absolutely adore Molina, so I decided to go for it.

Molina’s narration wasn’t quite what I expected – I stupidly forgot that he is British, not Spanish like in some of his movies, so the accent was a bit different than what I was expecting. Not bad, though, just different: the British accent was actually a great touch, given the locale of the story and the background of the characters. Molina gave a beautiful but understated narration of the story, not overacting it, but still being dynamic and interesting.

The story itself is pretty much what you might expect: a pirate story with treasure hunting, something that is most interesting to young boys but also to anyone else who likes adventure stories. And, as an adventure story, it’s good. I mean really, it’s a classic for a reason, and while the political commentary (on religion and drinking, among other things) is interesting, it’s really the plot that has brought so much fun to generation after generation. The characters are suitably lovable and hatable, depending on their purpose, and the pacing is generally pretty fast.

All in all, it’s an enjoyable read. Not usually the kind of story that I go for, and not exactly something that I would recommend to the average adult (or even teenager), but definitely deserving of its status as a children’s classic adventure story.

Rating:

4 Comments

  • Brenna October 13, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    I read this a few weeks ago for the first time. I loved The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde and thought this would be just as good. I thought it was a fun read, but I wouldn’t put it up there with my favorite classics. I’m glad I read it but I don’t think I’ll revisit it.

    • Carina October 20, 2010 at 9:13 pm

      Fair enough. I enjoyed it on the level of an adventure story, but otherwise it wasn’t anything to write home about.

  • Ruth Hill October 14, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    I remember reading this book, but I have to admit that I would prefer the movie versions. In fact, give me the Muppet Treasure Island. I am just not a big Robert Louis Stevenson fan.

  • BuriedInPrint October 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I’d planned to get to this one during the R-A-T last weekend, but Lord of the Flies really slowed me up: the pirate story likely would have been a better bet for the weary, wee hours of that morning though!

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