Book 16, a book from your childhood, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
I’m going to sound stupid admitting this, but I truly had no idea how pervasive Treasure Island was in American culture until I finally read this book. Think about it! Long John Silver’s restaurant is based on the character (who is a pirate…and a cook) with the same name. There are casinos and resorts named after the book. The pop culture stereotype of pirates with eye patches, one leg, parrots that talk, treasure maps, all of that came from this book. The entire Pirates of the Caribbean franchise echoes much of this book! It’s so odd to take the figure of the pirate, common place in pop culture, and see where much of it originated from. It’s like listening to a song you love, then realizing the song is actually a cover of an older song. Such an odd feeling!
Through fate, fortune, destiny, or whatever you want to call it, our narrator young Jim Hawkins meets with an old sailor who takes up residency at his family’s Inn. The old sailor is an interesting fellow to say the least, and he ends up getting Jim’s family implicated in some crazy antics involved the sailor’s pirate acquaintances involved–you guessed it–a map to buried treasure on some remote island. Several of the townspeople, including Jim, decide to go looking for it. They form a crew and borrow a boat, and off they go. However, it turns out that the mission for this ship is one of the worst kept secrets of the town, and Jim overhears a conversation between two of the crew that reveals several of them are actually (gasp) pirates. They plan to mutiny against the townspeople and steal the treasure for themselves. The rest of the tale is the adventure at sea/on the island in face of this mutiny and the resolution of the battle for the treasure.
I don’t know why this is considered a children’s book. It seems a little gory for younger kids, and also at this point it’s so dated that many kids would struggle with the language. I definitely enjoyed it, though! It’s a nicely paced adventure story that will keep you entertained for a few afternoons. If you’re anything like me, you’ll also take great pleasure experiencing the, “So that’s where that came from!” moments when you realize how much of this book is in our popular culture so many years after it was written.