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Silver: Return to Treasure Island

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  • Posted September 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Fun and Exciting

    Sil­ver: Return to Trea­sure Island by Andrew Motion is the novel which con­tin­ues the adven­tures of the son of Jim Hawkins, pro­tag­o­nist of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Trea­sure Island. Stevenson’s book was orig­i­nally pub­lished in 1883 and is con­sid­ered a clas­sic which has influ­enced many authors, read­ers and adven­ture seek­ers alike.

    Jim Hawkins the son grew up in “an atmos­phere stained by melan­choly” after his mother’s death. His father used his pro­ceeds from the trea­sure he found 30 years ear­lier to start an inn/tavern appro­pri­ately named The His­pan­iola. One day the enchant­ing Natalie, daugh­ter of his father’s nemesis/friend Long John Sil­ver, rows up to the inn ask­ing young Jim to steal his father’s trea­sure map. Together they plan to get the rest of the trea­sure their father’s left behind.

    Long John Sil­ver takes care of all the prepa­ra­tions, how­ever being ill and blind he leaves Natalie (dis­guised a boy named Nat) to rep­re­sent his inter­ests and Jim rep­re­sent­ing his father’s. Together with the crew they sail the Sil­ver Nightin­gale to Trea­sure Island only to find that the vil­lains their father’s marooned are still alive and pros­per­ing with a wrecked slave ship.

    Vis­it­ing the library one after­noon with my chil­dren, my eyes scanned upon the shelf where the librar­i­ans earnestly dis­play their newly arrived acqui­si­tions when they caught a glimpse of Sil­ver: Return to Trea­sure Island by Andrew Motion (Poet Lau­re­ate of the United King­dom from 1999 to 2009). I could hardly believe the audac­ity, the gull, some might say the chutz­pah, of attempt­ing to recre­ate the magic I remem­ber so fondly from my child­hood.
    How dare he? Of course I had to pick it up.

    A year ago I re-read Trea­sure Island and to my delight I enjoyed it tremen­dously as an adult. The magic and adven­ture were all there, even though some real­iza­tions hit me (the star of the story is the iconic Long John Sil­ver, not Jim Hawkins) as well as other enlight­en­ments such as the ambigu­ous immoral­i­ties which are lost on an 8 year old boy.

    While Trea­sure Island was a story for boys, about boys, Sil­ver has a touch of romance when Motion weaves a female into the cast (the daugh­ter of Long John Sil­ver, tomboy­ish if there ever was one). How­ever, this is still a book about boys and Motion kept it for boys but with an inter­est to girls as well.

    The pro­tag­o­nist, Jim Hawkins the son, gains insights into the evil side of humans, much like his father. Young Jim watches peo­ple dete­ri­o­rate into mon­sters as well as the heroic side of human nature. He watches peo­ple sac­ri­fice them­selves with­out under­stand­ing why, but gain­ing that under­stand­ing at the end of the novel, much as his father did before him.

    The book is flaw­less for the first 50 pages or so, fab­u­lous details with a wink and smile towards the orig­i­nal (The His­pan&#17

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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