Wednesday, April 01, 2015

A is for Adventure!

April A-to-Z: must-read books

Treasure Island (1883)
By Robert Louis Stevenson
(1850-1894) Scotland

This is simply the ultimate boy’s adventure story; the perfect, quintessential adventure story for boys around twelve or so. That I never convinced any of the boys I started more-or-less mentoring at that age, who are now in their late teens, to read this book (as far as I know), is probably the most resounding failure of my life; nothing short of tragic!

If you know a boy in grade school, You have to get him this book. You just have to!    

Jim Hawkins is roughly that age; perhaps a year or two older, and gets caught up in high-stakes, high-seas, life-threatening, nineteenth-century pirate affairs in a gripping, unputdownable tale! I haven’t read it in thirty-five years and I surely won’t read it again. The details are vague in my head but they radiate a magic which I will not compromise by submitting the book to adult perspectives!

The language of the original version is a bit archaic but remains suitable for brighter, more curious boys, according to tests I actually conducted with live boys!  There are texts with modernized language for those who are not up to the challenge.

Treasure Island is historically notable as the origin of such ingrained pirate lore as X’s on treasure maps and parrots on shoulders. Also it was prodigiously morally complex for children’s literature.

A passage:

In I got bodily into the apple barrel, and found there was scarce an apple left; but, sitting down there in the dark, what with the sound of the waters and the rocking movement of the ship, I had either fallen asleep, or was on the point of doing so, when a heavy man sat down with rather a clash close by. The barrel shook as he leaned his shoulders against it, and I was just about to jump up when the man began to speak. It was Silver’s voice, and, before I had heard a dozen words, I would not have shown myself for all the world, but lay there, trembling and listening, in the extreme of fear and curiosity; for from these dozen words I understood that the lives of all the honest men aboard depended upon me alone.   


IntrepidReader said...

I was very intrigued by the excerpt. I think in this day and age, girls would find this book appealing as well.

cammies on the floor said...

I don't know how well I would push and get others to read a book I admit *to not reading for 35 years and *never intending to again.

Fantasy Writer Guy said...

Intrepid: It's such an all-male cast of characters. I guess I feel like girls deserve some girl characters to read about!

Cammies: Sorry I didn't explain that concept well enough. I tend to write with a brevity that is aimed at a fairly literate audience. But thanks for dropping by and do remember to take your underthings with you on the way out.

Dawn M. Hamsher said...

Love the excerpt! Makes me want to read it! I'm ashamed to say that I haven't yet!