Monday, 15 February 2016


A million years ago, my older brother and myself each received a Christmas present of a book from a literature-loving aunt and uncle.  My brother got KIDNAPPED (and I often wished he would be), and I was given TREASURE ISLAND, both written by R. L. STEVENSON.  I can't remember whether I read it at the time or not, but I did so ten years later and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Well, strictly speaking, that's not quite true.  You see, the one I read wasn't my original festive gift from years before (which had disappeared into limbo at some indeterminate stage), but a replacement I bought a decade later from a local bookshop on recognizing the cover and being instantly transported back in time to my childhood.

The cover reminded me of the back garden of the house I'd lived in when I received my earlier printing of this classic.  That was likely because of the garden having a wooden fence similar to that shown on the dustjacket, although ours was held together by wire.  To this day, whenever I look at that illustration, in my mind's eye I'm once again gazing through my old bedroom window at the garden below.

The back garden from my bedroom window

Anyway, to bore you with further tedious and unnecessary detail, unlike my original copy, the replacement carried no dustjacket.  The cover was just like an annual, applied straight onto the boards.  When I revisited the house nigh on twenty years after leaving it, one of several items I took with me (to 'reconnect' to my past, as it were) was the replacement edition of Treasure Island.  So now the book not only reminds me of my former home, it's actually been in it.
Some years ago, in the OXFAM shop in Glasgow's Byres Road, I managed to re-obtain a dustjacketed edition published in the same year as my original book.  It sits alongside my brother's copy of Kidnapped (which, happily, survived).  However, whether it's the '60s or '70s version, there's just something about that cover which sings to me of an earlier, more innocent time so many years ago.


B Smith said...

Is that back garden still there? It gets mentioned so often, I reckon they'll put a blue plaque there after you've shuffled off this mortal coil :-)

Kid said...

Oh, they'll do that in every house I've ever lived in, BS, for sure. For the garden's current state, read the post entitled 'Gardens of the Mind'. It's fairly recent.

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