Dad would sit at the edge of my bed, twisting his voice in to a threatening high pitched bark.
“Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.”
He’d contort his face, opening one eye extra large while he grimaced. Until the day I die, the Long John Silver of my mind’s eye will always be a one-legged version of the old man who read “Treasure Island” to me when I was a kid.
Those memories flooded back thanks to an assignment from my Young Adult Literature class.
We have to reread a childhood favorite and assess how we’ve changed as readers.
It was a blast.
I picked “Treasure Island” and started rereading it aloud to the kids. Sure, it’s more mature than their Dr. Suess, but they seemed to enjoy most of it.
I regularly had to explain a lot of things or ask Michael if he understood what something was.
I probably got more out of it than they did.
The book isn’t as deep, literature-wise, as some more recent young adult fiction I’ve read. For one thing Jim Hawkins is barely memorable. He’s no Huck Finn, Scout Finch of Harry Potter. He doesn’t really grow as a character.
But the side characters are really memorable. Long John and Ben Gunn are just fantastic creations and the story itself is a great take on the epic narrative.
What was your favorite book as a kid? Have you reread it recently? Did it hold up?