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Treasure Island!!!
Sara Levine
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Treasure Island!!!

3.21 of 5 stars 3.21  ·  rating details  ·  1,104 ratings  ·  322 reviews
When a college graduate with a history of hapless jobs (ice cream scooper; gift wrapper; laziest ever part-time clerk at The Pet Library) reads Robert Louis Stevenson's novel "Treasure Island," she is dumbstruck by the timid design of her life. When had she ever dreamed a scheme? When had she ever done a foolish, overbold act? When had she ever, like Jim Hawkins, broke fro...more
ebook, 97 pages
Published December 1st 2011 by Europa Yearbook
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In theory, I should like this book. In reality, it reads like a series of real-life episodes of Alvin and the Chipmunks, with a horrifically unlikeable narrator blundering forward into scheme upon wacky scheme, each of which are apparently intended as farcical comedy, but which instead crumble into one huge cumulative sad mess.

I think the real keyword here is "unlikeable." The narrator--first-person, so there's no escape--is completely unlikeable. She has no redeeming qualities. Her actions are...more
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Here's a text conversation I had with my friend Megan:

M: Have you read Treasure Island!!! by Sarah Levine?
O: No! What is it?
M: Um, a book. You may like it.
O: Ha, okay.

[Megan brings me the book, which I dutifully add to my terrifyingly high, teetering to-read stack. A month passes. I read this and that and the other, and then I pick this up.]

O: Holy fuck, why didn't you tell me this book was endorsed by both Adam Levin and Aimee Bender??????
M: Um, because I don't know who they are.
O: AAAAAHHHH th...more
I think this little book is a burst of brilliance, but I honestly wonder how comic I'm supposed to find it. The reviews I've read all say things like WITTY, IRREVERENT, HILARIOUS!!! but I don't think this recognizes the depths of the comedy's darkness. The narrator distills Treasure Island down to a set of "Core Values"—BOLDNESS, RESOLUTION, INDEPENDENCE, HORN-BLOWING—and proceeds to demonstrate how a particular cultural ideal of "motivated selfhood" is actually, quite clearly, a form of sociopa...more
Ok, I was definitely along for the ride as this wacky, 20-something girl decides to base her life choices on the tenets she's extrapolated from her obsessive readings of Treasure Island. These beliefs are 1)boldness, 2) resolution, 3)independence, and 4)horn-blowing. Horn-blowing is my favorite! I was right there with her until the unfortunate incident with Little Richard. She lost me as a cheerleader after this. I was done with her long before her family decided to have an intervention.

Great i...more
This book is a hoot--its own unique little thing but with echoes of Sarah Bird and Lydia Millet shining through its pages. Our narrator starts as a fairly harmless narcissist and progresses to a dangerous sociopath, all because of her addiction to the Robert Louis Stevenson novel, "Treasure Island." One of the funniest moments of the book is when a fellow, well-intentioned character hints that Jim Hawkins may not be the heart of the book as our main character proposes but instead the book might...more
This is a strange book, and it evoked a strange response for me. First of all, I'm not sure whether or not I liked the book. The first chapters did not impress me and in fact I did not think that my review would be more than two stars. However, as I read the book grew on me.

I began the story, of course, finding our narrator to be a self-absorbed, vain idiot. And moreover, I didn't find her likeable as a protagonist, I wasn't rooting for her. I was hoping that something really terrible would happ...more
Natasha Zaretsky
I loved this novel and have added three exclamation points to the end of this sentence as a paean to the author!!! Wholly originally, mordantly funny, and wonderfully deranged, it tells the story of a twenty-five year old woman who--frustrated by her own ostensible aimlessness--haps upon Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island and decides that the boy adventure story holds the key to her own self-improvement. Determined to turn a new page and live by the book's core values of boldness, independ...more
Patrick Brown
The funniest book I've read this year, and a criminally underrated novel. The narrator, a nameless young woman, finds inspiration in the classic novel Treasure Island. She decides to use the book as a blueprint, a template for how to be a different sort of person. Drawing from Jim Hawkins' four core principles -- boldness, resolution, independence, and horn-blowing -- she sets out to remake herself. But what she succeeds in doing is unmaking her life. She essentially steals money from her employ...more
This book was a disappointment to me. I hated the protagonist who started out sort of quirky, then moved on to mildly annoying, finishing out dreadful, and unbelievable. The story kept getting more and more impossible and hard to believe--why did this narrator have any friends? Does anyone without some sort of mental illness actually behave this way? I admit that the premise was interesting, for a while, but the book felt more like an experiment that went on for about 100 pages too long.

At the b...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Don’t take anything in this book at face value; it’s all a farce of the highest order.

Either that or our main character and heroine is the most self-centered, obnoxious, hard-to-get-along-with human being on the planet. With family and friends who are not far down the path themselves.

This has to be one of the oddest books I’ve ever read.

Yes, odder than 1Q84. At least that book was set in an alternate universe.

Not so this story, with a main character who works at a pet library, who reads Treasur...more
A gift from kfan. THANK YOU.

This is a case where skimming some GoodReads reviews before I really got rolling on this actually helped my overall opinion of this book. I had this heads-up situation where people were feeling like the narrator was blithely unlikable, and crazy, and mean, and since those are all things that are likely to put me off a book, I went in trying to work against my own prejudice. Because if you really want to talk about it, I don't actually think a protagonist has to be li...more
Gemma collins
This was one of the few books I have read where as soon as I finished it I wanted to see whether other people had read it and what they thought of it. It definitely stirred a lot of feelings in me and it seems to have in other people, either it is a loathing or a real like.
I can't say either way really but that I do think this book has an extraordinarily unique voice and is certainly the most original contemporary fiction I have read in a while.
The protagonist is a little like Ignatius J Reilly...more
This is about an obsession with a book that goes wayyyyyyy to far. The "heroine" of the book (who never gives us her name), a 25 year old just drifting about without any sort of ambition but a history of crappy jobs, gets goaded into reading Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island". She gets swept up in the sense of adventure and decides to live her own life based on what she deems are the "Core Values" of the book: Boldness, Resolution, Independence and Horn-Blowing. And so her own adventure...more
I'm really torn over this book. On the one hand, I thought the writing was good and really evoked the main character and her emotional state and thought process throughout. But, on the other hand, the story, which felt like it had great potential, was not really enjoyable and was actually quite disturbing, especially with such an unpleasant main character.

Reading the summary on the book cover, I thought that the book's premise was not only interesting but had great potential. Unfortunately, the...more
Another Book Blog
Treasure Island!!! is a book a person should reserve judging until they’ve read to the bitter very end. My opinion wavered back and forth several times over the course of its 177 pages, but by the time I had finished I realized that author Sara Levine had done something really calculated and unique. Everything in this novel is calculated, right down to its holy-shit-this-character-is-annoying protagonist. There’s a method to the madness.

Narrated by one of the most charismatically irritating char...more
Like the anti-heroine of this grating satiric novel, I rediscovered the classic adventure Treasure Island as an adult, and found it hugely enjoyable. However, unlike the incredibly irritating, selfish, and possibly insane 25-year-old narrator, I did not convert it into a manifesto for personal growth. Working a strange, dead-end job in a pet rental store, and drifting in an amicable but mild relationship with her boyfriend, the unnamed narrator distills the classic adventure tale into four "Core...more
This is a quirkily fun little book. Though the narrator occasionally disgusted me, she was a fascinating character to listen to. Some unreliable narrators generate tension for the reader because you have to constantly question their reliability. This one, not so much. You know she is a self-centered, deluded little fool the whole time. There is never any question. However, that in and of itself creates a different kind of tension. The book is funny and provoking, definitely one of a kind.
I absolutely adored this book: it's a funny and swift read, and the narrator is wonderfully unlikeable and bonkers. Sometimes the premise is a touch thin but that didn't lessen my enjoyment of this irreverent and plucky novel. Read it!
I read Stevenson’s Treasure Island to prepare for Treasure Island!!! (which is definitely recommended, although perhaps not strictly necessary) and it made me want to write more action-oriented stories. (My writing is very low on captures, escapes, fisticuffs, harrowing escapades at sea, and such.) Treasure Island!!!’s narrator’s response is an order of magnitude more drastic: she wants her life to be more action-oriented. She adopts the “core values” she derives from Treasure Island as justific...more
David Hebblethwaite
Like A Novel Bookstore, Sara Levine’s debut novel (another Europa UK launch title) also revolves around the transforming power of literature, though here it’s one work in particular, and the result is perhaps not as positive. Levine’s (unnamed) narrator is a twenty-something graduate with a penchant for the easy (one might say lazy) option, until reading Treasure Island inspires her to be more like Jim Hawkins, and be bold and adventurous in her life. So she takes money from the Pet Library wher...more
I hated this book at first. I've always said that I have a hard time with novels if I don't like the main character (especially if it's the first person narrator), and the one in this book is absolutely vile. Just a terrible, stupid, inconsiderate, vicious person. But somehow, 1/3 of the way in or so, her cruelty became almost baroque in its senselessness and absurdity, and the book began to grow on me. I found myself enjoying it in spite of myself. It's a dark, bizarre novel, but there's someth...more
Holy pirate ship was this funny! Genuine laugh out loud hilarity (Just to be perfectly clear I mean this in the spelled out laugh out loud way NOT the teenage texters'ubiquitous LOL version because I am so NOT that kind of person.) Anyway, I would have never given this book a second glance had I not heard a riotous review on my beloved Literary Disco ("Where books come to dance."). Unlike the story's protagonist, I have no affinity for Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale and thus, would not ha...more
Would recommend: Probably not

At first, I really liked this book. The writing is smart and funny, and the protagonist was sort of flaky in an endearing way. There were a few good lines I appreciated, like the one that goes something like, "As ready as you are to grow, you can't fertilize friends to grow along with you."

However, around the midpoint of the book, there was enough coarse language and vulgar images that I was utterly turned off. The flakiness that garnered affection at the start grate...more
Treasure Island!!! isn't very long & even has some Dorthy Parker-esque short story qualities, in that you understand character from her words & actions but nothing at all accurate from her own head. This reads like Chick Lit, except the narrator doesn't actually have any of the plucky, goodhearted but mistreated qualities of the usual chick. She thinks she is pursuing important self discovery by studying Treasure Island, but she gets everything wrong, which is just what humans do all the...more
There's a moment in this book (one of the dozens that made me laugh out loud) where a mother, just having suffered a death in the family, is about to make a point about how death puts everything in perspective, how it makes the little things seem trivial. But she can't finish her thought, because she sees that someone has left breadcrumbs in the butter, and she's annoyed.

This book is full of such beautiful and hilarious details, these small moments that capture the contradictions at the center o...more
Marthine Satris
Hilarious, absurd book. Reminded me of Confederacy of Dunces because the unreliable narrator is so sure of herself and the righteousness of her cuckoo choices, and the reader and all the narrator's friends can see right through them. I loved that this female protagonist didn't have to be likable for me to enjoy the book, and thought it was incredibly refreshing. Also, made me want to read Stevenson's book, since the narrator so clearly misunderstands it!

A light, delightful read that nevertheless...more
Hilarious. Most wonderfully self-delusional narrator this side of Ignatius J. Reilly. If you need to love your narrator, feel free to seek out some crappier book. Our narrator here is unfathomably selfish, indefensibly conceited, cruel, vile, and monomaniacal in her obsession with Stevenson's text. But the fun of the book is watching her bad behavior as she rips her own life and the lives of those close to her apart at the seams. And rip she does. If you don't like meanies, then piss off because...more
Eric Meyers
I read this book immediately after The Marriage Plot as a bit of a palate cleanser, a job it did very well. Funny, quirky, light and very entertaining.

It's a book about someone reading another book, which rarely works, but here it was a fun twist. It's been a long time since I've read Treasure Island (and I think I've seen the Muppets Treasure Island more recently), so I can't really talk to any meta-structure it may have taken from the book.

I read this for the always-amazing Rumpus Book Club
Carol Meissner
"A Hoot!!! But only for those over Thirty..."

What a charmingly engaging, funny, easy-reading intelligent book. How I loved it! The tongue-in-cheek reality of a twenty-five year old woman who has not one inch of self-reflection is hysterical. The storyline makes you want to giggle and the convolutions of the young woman's life are beyond comedic. Read this book if you are over thirty, have actually done something with your life, and enjoy witty, intelligent prose. Awesome!
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“If life were a sea adventure, I knew: I wouldn't be sailor, pirate, or cabin boy but more likely a barnacle clinging to the side of the boat.” 2 likes
“Don't tell me you're reading it,' she said, as if I were doing something to the book, whereas in fact the book was doing something to me.” 2 likes
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