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Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York
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Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  563 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Three decades after its original bestselling publication, "Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York" is still completely on target as the most achingly funny book-length suicide note ever written by an agonizingly single 30-year-old trying unsuccessfully to straddle two worlds: the one she's been programmed for from birth?marriage first, life later?and the illusive swi ...more
Paperback, 223 pages
Published January 27th 2004 by Overlook TP (first published 1972)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,096)
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oriana
Aug 16, 2010 oriana rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to oriana by: Very Unphotogenic
Shelves: read-2010
On the same day that I first heard of this book, when it was recommended to me very persuasively by a new GR bookfriend, I found it on the shelf at a friend's house, all waiting for me to borrow it. Synchronicity!!

And what a delightful little book! So lively and punchy and funny and fun. Sheila Levine, a college-educated Jewish girl from Long Island (New Jersey?), lives in the East Village and works as an assistant to a man who produces Christmas albums for children (sung by squirrels!). She has
...more
Salimah
"Chick Lit" did not exist in the lexicon in 1972 when this book was written, but I'm sure it's on its way to a retrospective categorization. I think I liked it. It was disturbing (something no chick lit book is suppposed to be--funny, heartwarming, diverting, yes--but disturbing, no).

Sheila Levine is more reminscent of Wally Lamb's heroine in She's Come Undone than Bridget Jones. Her book-length suicide note is a study in histrionic voice--by turns funny and off-putting. In that way, I think, t
...more
Merrie
I must have been 12 years old when a friend of mine lent this book to me and, good or bad, I have to say it had a big impact on my worldview. This is a totally hilarious manifesto for every ugly girl who can't get a date. Yes, it is really dated--it was probably at least 15 years old when I first read it. On the other hand, it is shocking how little has actually changed for those of us who fall into the less than desirable category. From the humiliating sexual escapades to the toxic female frien ...more
Anna Walls
Sheila Levine has tried, and I mean, really, really tried, to get married. But when she hits 30 and hasn't succeeded, she sets about planning to kill herself. I first read this book as a teenager, and laughed so hard I cried, and sometimes cried just because. I reread it a few years later, and a few years later, and it always hit home. Recently, I decided to read it at the ripe old age of 56, and...bam! Still one of the funniest, most poignant books I've ever read, full of memorable lines and ch ...more
Nicky
This book appeals to all of my interests: suicide; new york city; biting, hilarious sarcasm; doomed relationships; intelligent, depressed girls; and first-person narrators. It will always have a place on my bookshelf and in my withered little heart.
Trena
The more things change, the more they stay the same. This book was written in 1972 in the chick lit genre before it even really existed. It's a book length suicide note about a girl who has reached 30 and is still unmarried and can't take it anymore. It is quite funny at times (I actually spit a mouthful strawberry onto one of the pages accidentally) and impressively (or perhaps depressingly?) timeless. For instance this: "FACT: Most single girls plan to have a child when they're thirty-five whe ...more
Abbey
i just love self depricating humour, and this book was full of it. it is considered a pre-cursor to 'chick lit' but i think it had a lot more substance than many chick lit books do. sheila levine is the narrator, a 30 year old woman that decides to commit suicide because she can't find a husband. it's a darkly hilarious commentary on how tough society can be on us single girls, as well as questioning why marriage is important in the first place. sheila often annoyed the hell out of me, but i thi ...more
notgettingenough
I read this a couple of years ago when an American friend gave me a copy. I meant lent. Even though he had bunches of them because he likes it so much. It just isn't good enough, starts off okay but after not so long I was wishing she'd get on with it.

I've already forgotten why it irritated me so much. She whines is that it? And goes on and on and on about the same things....
Yuki
It was funny, it was full of hidden meaning - but I keep asking myself - was it good read for me after all? An inch from writting my own letter. Nah, I'm kidding.
Bought this book on a 1 euro sale just because of the title. This book should be used as an example in "How to title a book" tutorials. lol.
Manja
Kurzbeschreibung:
Gail Parent hat mit Sheila Levine ist tot und lebt in New York aus dem Jahr 1972 gleich ein Genre begründet. Ihre Nachfolgerinnen haben mit Schokolade zum Frühstück und Sex and the City Millionenseller geschaffen. Nachdem Gail Parents ebenso liebenswürdige wie schlagfertige Heldin Sheila Levine daraufhin international wiederentdeckt wurde, betritt sie nun endlich auch die deutsche Bühne. New York in den Siebzigern: Sheila, 30, auf der Suche nach Mr. Right: Sie datet, was das Zeu
...more
Fallopia
Mar 25, 2013 Fallopia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves New York, hates New York, is nostalgic for the 70s, or hated the 70s
Shelves: new-york-city
"A few years ago, on Manhattan's East Side, a man set up a business where he sold diet shakes, delicious chocolate milk shakes having only seventy-seven calories. Well, I tell you: fat young girls came from near and far and lined up around the block at lunchtime. I was one of the ones who had two for lunch every day."

Well, the women began to suspect that the shakes weren't as lo-cal as the man claimed, so they went to some authority who determined the shakes had over two hundred and seventy calo
...more
Jeff
Sep 24, 2007 Jeff rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like to listen to other people's incessant complaining
I'd seen this book floating around for a few years (I mean it came out in the 70s) and everytime I saw it, I thought, "It sort of looks interesting."
What I meant to say was, the cover makes it look interesting- a cute girl (looking like a young Mary Louise Parker) with a MOD design around her, plus the premise of the book is that the book itself is the sucide note of one Sheila Levine, so... it might be a good book. But then the text on the bottom says, "Before Bridget Jones, before Sex and the
...more
J
The original Bridget Jones! Just as neurotic without seeming nearly as irresponsible which, after the newest Bridget book, is a welcome change. It's definitely old-school chick-lit (I've seen other reviews that claim this is the original chick-lit novel) but the writing is smart and catchy and it's really kind of amazing how much hasn't changed, even with the advent of cell phones and Match.com. Sheila Levine, I salute you!
Ghym
This is my favorite book. I picked it up a few years back at a flea market and had no idea what a treasure I'd found. Sheila Levine is a thirtysomething single Jewish overweight woman who is desperate to get married. She decides to kill herself when she sees the marriage thing ain't gonna happen. It sounds all bleak and Bridget Jonesy but I assure you it is not. Written by Gail Parent, this is one of the funniest books of all time. (Parent is a TV writer who has worked on the Golden Girls and Ca ...more
Karen
I picked this up because it was on a list of "book better than movies." Really how hard could that be?

I'm going to guess that this was funnier at the time it was written, fresher, shocking or something. It's the story of a Jewish girl trying, rather half-heartedly, to find love & marriage in NY city because she is pretty sure it what she and everyone else wants to happen. This could be written about many different classes or cultural groups now. The Iranian and Korean girls I go to school wi
...more
Diane
I read this book years ago and loved it. I would read it on the bus from St. Clair Shores to my job in Downtown Detroit. It's one of those where you laugh out loud and people don't want to sit by you.
Kaye Mendez
This is the book that got me started on the chick lit genre. I owned the 1973 edition but sadly lost it, so now I have the 2004 edition, whose cover I don't like. I have re-read it several times already, and it still manages to get to me every time, so I guess the cover is not really a big deal.

This book is very funny, but poignant at the same time. There's a little bit of Sheila in all of us, and while the story was published in the 1970s, it still holds true for our society today.

If you want s
...more
Tonya
This book has been on my to-read list for years. Now that I'm approaching my 30th birthday, I figured there was no better time to read a (humorous) book about a girl turning 30 who decides to kill herself. The book was a little disappointing. I knew going into it that it was supposed to be more comedic than dramatic, so I'm not sure what I expected. Comedy doesn't pack the realistic punch that drama does, so the light and airy take on this subject matter didn't really work for me. It's also quit ...more
Megankellie
Apr 18, 2012 Megankellie rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Someone in the main characters situation but is now out of it and romanticizes it.
Recommended to Megankellie by: A married dude with 2 children.
I enjoy when a 2 year old freaks out about a costumed panda, or when a cat thinks the world ended because a toaster ejected toast. Basically because there is no harm and the fear spiral is pointless and nothing bad will happen to living beings that are powerless. A guy I worked with gave me this book when I was working in a gray room in LA. I identified with the main character way too much to enjoy it at all, and considering she is writing a suicide note the whole time, well, tread carefully if ...more
Jennifer
Read this in junior high or high school - many moons ago - and curious to re-read as an adult.
Danica
This book is hilarious! It is the suicide note of a jewish girl in NYC looking for a husband and wishing she was thin. It really does keep you interested and although the ending is semi-predictible, you still have to wonder if she will or will not kill herself by the end of the book. The characters are over exagerated and easy to visualize. Becuase it is somewhat of an era writing, you do have to keep that in mind with some of the things tht the main character does and how there was different th ...more
Janet Wertman
DO YOU WANT TO LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE PEOPLE LIE ABOUT CALORIES? Thirty-five years after I first read this book, I still laugh out loud. Achingly funny.
meredith ann
a pretty funny book but very much a "chick lit" book (before there was such a thing). sheila levine is 30, single, and overweight in new york. so what other choice does she have besides killing herself? the detail and thought she puts into the planning of her suicide are hilarious, in a non-morbid kind of way (and i say that as a morbid person). if you're annoyed by women complaining they want a man to be happy, don't read this. although that annoys me too so maybe you shouldn't take my advice.
Amanda
Ooooh, this book is clever. I read it because it was supposedly a predecessor to Bridget Jones and I have to admit it lived up to the hype.

The book is written supposedly as a suicide letter from a Jewish girl going on thirty in the 1970s who is at her wit's end because she can't get married. Not much in the way of plot but the book is just plain funny. It's hard to believe 1972 when this book was written (and five years before I was born) was 35 years ago. Ack!
Gillian
I read this book about a million years ago (maybe even my late teens) but it has stayed with me though all the years. Something reminded me of it recently so I wanted to add it to my list. Long before its time this book made me question a lot things that were the "norm" back then. In its own way, I'd rank it up there as a funny "Female Eunuch." I’m not sure how it has held up over time but I would highly recommend it.
Sara
During the summer I traditionally read a lot of, for lack of a better word, crap. I found this on my parent's bookshelf when visiting this past week and promptly stole it, mostly because it deals with a Bridget Jonesian heroine who is Jewish, overweight, and unmarried. I want to know what Gloria Steinem thinks of this book, because the ENTIRE plot centers around the fact that she's like, 22 and unmarried. Holy timewarp.
Lee Anne
Early seventies chick lit about a fat Jewish girl who decides to commit suicide because she isn't married. I'm not a contemporary chick lit reader, but the time period for this one made it interesting. It was definitely funny in parts. The author was a writer for The Carol Burnett Show and an executive producer for The Golden Girls, so that kind of funny (which is generally speaking, a good kind).
Lloyd Scott

One of the funniest books that I have read, and then they made a movie from it and I saw the movie also, played by elaine may's real life daughter jeannie berlin. A terrific funny movie about life, love, finding that special someone, growing up, and dealing with life and all that it has to offer, in the eyes of a young, single woman in her 20s living in new york city.
Leeann Anna
okay. this book disturbed me on many levels: it is Sheila's suicide note. Yes, that's right. Reading it made me laugh in an extremely depressing way. It could be considered a feminist critique of the construct of marriage and the role of women in the 1960's. Or it could just be an insane woman's ramblings. you be the judge.
Mona
I read this when I was in my early to mid-teens. Would love to read it again to see how it has stood the test of time. Even then, I thought it was absolutely spot on. From the charlatan diet shake man to "sex with flecks," this book had such great timing and hilariously sad, accurate observations. Bravo, Gail Parent!
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