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Writers are Readers: "Treasure Island"


REVIEWER: Lindsay Lake


BOOK TITLE: Treasure Island


AUTHOR: Robert Louis Stevenson


GENERAL SYNOPSIS: A classic coming of age novel, adventure story and pirate tale, all rolled into one. This book is the standard for all such stories.


GENERAL IMPRESSIONS: Originally titled "The Sea Cook: A Boys Tale," which looked to be devised as simply a story for young boys. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I read "Treasure Island," but I was young enough not to care if I was a boy or a girl.


HOW WAS THIS BOOK SIGNIFICANT FOR YOU? Reading "Treasure Island" was not like reading other books considered as literature. "Treasure Island" did not try to be anything except what it was: a ruckus adventure. It sounds like Mr. Stevenson wrote this book as almost a lark, not as serious literature, but as something else. If written today, the author would send it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe / Disney.


HOW WILL IT AFFECT YOUR WRITING? "Treasure Island" ignited my imagination like no other book before or since. Shortly after reading, I wrote my first pirate story. I haven’t written any pirate story since but no matter what I write, it always turns out to be about a mad scientist, an adventure in Greenland with sled dog races, or something about superheroes. From this book, I have carried with me a love for writing vivid characters that are very active and a desire to create an atmosphere in which they can function. I don’t want to change anyone’s mind. I don’t want to burden anyone with the suffering of true life. I want only to entertain, to delight you with my story. The biggest compliment you could give me about my writing is to say, “I had fun reading your story.” What I write is for adults, but it’s for the 10-year-old in the adult. I’m certainly no Robert Louis Stevenson, but I think he wrote from the same place.


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