I have no idea how old I was when I first read ‘Treasure Island’ by Robert Louis Stephenson , and I must have read it before I saw a TV or film version, because we didn’t have a TV and I only saw the 1950 film after I’d read it; there was a 1934 film, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen that!. It was on ‘Children’s Hour’ on the radio read by Derek McCullough (Uncle Mac) but that was in 1960, and I knew the story well by then, having read and reread it so many times.
In our book club we like to read all sorts of different things, and we have the delight of ‘Treasure island’ as this month’s choice. I haven’t read it for many many years, but reading it now it is so vivid – like going to a place you once knew really well but had forgotten how vividly you actually knew it when you revisit. However, reading it as an adult and after a distance of some years, I realise what (as if I didn’t already know) what a master story teller Stephenson was. The way he describes characters, the pace, the vivid way he conjures the voyage on the Hispaniola, and the way he sees the action through the eyes of young Jim Hawkins, the betrayal and disappointment Jim feels when he realises the sort of man John Silver is, is absolutely masterful. I knew of course that Stephenson was a wonderful writer, but I had forgotten quite how wonderful.
I’ll be interested to hear what my friends think, will they be as excited as I am at rediscovering Treasure Island? The other book by Stephenson I read times without number is ‘Kidnapped’ – I must go back and read that again!