Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Sheer Delight! I was recently given Silver by Andrew Motion to read, but felt that I really needed to read Treasure Island first to appreciate it fully. So at my trusty second hand book store I found a very old version to call my own. Someone had called it their own before me and that’s kind of special, a bit like finding buried treasure. Ok, that is a bit of a leap!
I was suckered into this fantastic tale from the first page, the story begins with young Jim Hawkins and a sudden change in both his and his mother’s personal circumstances. The arrival of a strange, menacing and mysterious man who stays at their Inn for an extended period, intimidating all around him with his tales of Captain Flint. He ends up involving young Jim Hawkins in an adventure through the discovery of a map which, brings Long John Silver into his life.
I think most people probably have a rough idea of the story of Treasure Island and I thought I did also, however, reading the book written Robert Louis Stevenson some 129 years ago was quite a revelation. So much of what we know and characterise as ‘pirate’ was encapsulated in this book, the language, the behaviour, the menace, the parrot on the shoulder and the lust for treasure.
I particularly enjoyed the voyage to Treasure Island part of the story and the good versus bad struggle on the Island. There isn’t a clean good triumphs over bad in the end, you are pleasantly left with questions as to what happens to Long John Silver. The perfect segway to my next review.
Silver: Return to Treasure Island by Andrew Motion
I wouldn’t necessarily call this a sequel to Treasure Island as it is the next generation who go on their very own adventure. There is still a map and a voyage but Jack Hawkins and Long John Silver never meet, they are somewhat sad shadows of the Treasure Island book; it is the story of their children and their experience of Treasure Island.
I also enjoyed Silver, but not quite in the same way that I enjoyed Treasure Island. Andrew Motion is very good at recreating the atmosphere of Treasure Island through the language and characters. Whilst I did get a lot of pleasure reading Silver I found it a little slow going in parts and found the climax very brutal. This was a story of tragedy of others being exploited and it was profoundly sad at times, mixed with a bit of Lord of the Flies crazy. Whilst I struggled a little with this aspect of the book and thought the ending was a little surreal, I would still recommend the book as a fun read. Just don’t expect anything as original and captivating as the original Treasure Island.