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Reason for Beginning: It’s a classic about pirates by a legendary Scottish writer. The pace is fairly quick, but the characters and plot fleshed out enough, and the turns of event are fascinating not just for plot reasons, but for what they reveal about the characters involved.Author Re-readability: Robert Louis Stevenson is regarded as one of the three Scottish literary giants, alongside Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns (to them I would add George Mac Donald, who doesn’t get nearly their press but deserves to).
is undeniable: insane, hilarious and irreverent.”—Alice Sebold When a college graduate with a history of hapless jobs (ice cream scooper; gift wrapper; laziest ever part-time clerk at The Pet Library) reads Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island, she is dumbstruck by the timid design of her life. Convinced that Stevenson’s book is cosmically intended for her, she redesigns her life according to its Core Values: boldness, resolution, independence and horn-blowing.
When had she ever, like Jim Hawkins, broke from her friends, raced for the beach, stolen a boat, killed a man, and eliminated an obstacle that stood in the way of her getting a hunk of gold?
He has colleagues, but no friends he can trust—at least, not until Jim Hawkins.
The pirate’s life is not one of freedom, dignity, and self-respect, no matter what Jack Sparrow may say. Silver knows this in his bones, and his last act of piracy is a misguided attempt to be free of that life.
It also one of the few books I can find no fault with. So iconic was the story that it had seeped by osmosis into my imagination, and I could easily recap the plot to my teacher’s satisfaction.
Key Thoughts Many moons ago, when I was a bookish third grader, I had to do a book report and art project on . Finally (actually, much earlier this year), I picked up the book again and read it cover to cover.This is because he tells great stories that can be reread and reread with great satisfaction each and every time. This book is everything it promises, and a little bit more.It is the definitive pirate story, yet also a deconstruction of the idea of the romantic pirate.Jim’s real moment of growth (into manhood, if we can say that for a young teenager) is when he recognizes this warring dynamic, which is Silver’s struggle against the dangers and addictions of sin.So that’s what I found to be the story’s great staying power.Then he rapped on the door with a bit of stick like a handspike that he carried, and when my father appeared, called roughly for a glass of rum.This, when it was brought to him, he drank slowly, like a connoisseur, lingering on the taste, and still looking about him at the cliffs and up at our signboard. From the first page, you can smell the salt sea breeze that sweeps by the Admiral Benbow Inn; indeed, I’ve reread that first page many times just to revisit that place.It’s a fast-paced boys’ adventure, full of stormy coves, sun-spangled seas, mutinous rogues, and honorable Englishmen, yet also something of a character study and a coming-of-age story.It is tremendously enjoyable, yet sobering upon reflection.Sara Levine Sara Levine teaches at the Art Institute of Chicago. Her stories have appeared in The Iowa Review, Nerve, Conjunctions, Necessary Fiction, Sonora Review, and other magazines.