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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

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,238 ratings  ·  169 reviews
Meet Sheila Levine, she’s smart and funny, and her mother tells her she’s beautiful. . . . But her skirt’s always a bit wrinkled, she’s trying to lose 15—make that 25—pounds, she just turned 30 . . . and she’s still single. She tries to date and mate, she really does, but disappointment turns to desperation, and after a flash of insight, Sheila calmly decides to kill herse ...more
Paperback, 223 pages
Published January 27th 2004 by Harry N. Abrams (first published 1972)
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  1,238 ratings  ·  169 reviews


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Julie Ehlers
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: funny
Readers! When you read Looking for Mr. Goodbar, did you think to yourself, "This portrayal of a young woman's dating life in 1970s NYC is really good, but it would be even better without all the stabbing"? Or did you perhaps enjoy The Catcher in the Rye, but wish it was told from the point of view of a 1970s Jewish woman wondering why, at the ripe old age of 22, she isn't even engaged, much less married? Or did you like the Little House on the Prairie books, but wish you could read something sli ...more
Oriana
Jul 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Nikki
Apr 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Salimah
Nov 14, 2007 rated it liked it
"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
Anna Walls
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Fallopia
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Ghym
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Bert Chuba
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4, strangely-good
This book is not at all what I thought it would be. It's a straightforward book, and I didn't find any mystery or tension in it as I thought there would be.

On the other hand, there is something in this book that makes you want to read it until it ends. I fell in love with the heroine of the novel, with her wit and humor, and although there was nothing in the book that I was looking to read, I finally felt a desire to read some more of it.
notgettingenough
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: humour
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....
Diane
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
rebecca
Dec 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: not sure
Gee, a book about a girl who decides to 'off' herself because she is in her 30's and not married. Such a pick me up......
Sara
Dec 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Funny story. I could relate to a lot of it, unfortunately. Reminded me of my Jewish girlfriends from IU. Ending was quite abrupt, which left me feeling unsatisfied.
Heather
Nov 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Heather by: I think I borrowed it from Leslie.
This is how "meh" the book was: I had completely forgotten that the premise was it was a suicide note.
Virginia
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Written by television writer Gail Parent in 1972, this book unabashedly details Sheila Levine’s single girl life in New York City through the 1960s. It’s funny and cringe-worthy, and somewhat heartbreaking. After all, it is a long and meandering suicide note. It was what I expected at first, with a Jewish girl from Brooklyn lamenting her weight, her lack of marriage proposals, and her overbearing mother. But her single life is full of delight and embarrassments. I liked this book as a document o ...more
Jeff
Aug 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Karen
May 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-vs-movie
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 with s
...more
Abbey
Dec 24, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Trena
Apr 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Lee Anne
May 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
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).
Sara
Sep 06, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
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.
Frau Sorge (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.
Katherine
Oct 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
I would give it two and a half stars if I could. It was one of those books that's a page-turner, even though you pretty much know what's going to happen. Lots of anthropological interest about '60s and '70s New York and the lives and expectations of young women therein.
Marshaferz
May 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
Wow, is this dated. I read it in part because it's sort of famous and I was curious, but yeesh. That said, it's funny, in a cringe-worthy sort of way. I like Parent much better as a sit-com writer, I think.
Janet Maday
Aug 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book. I laughed, I understood Sheila at times I WAS Sheila. Funny, sad, sweet, human, sometimes it will make you laugh out loud!
Loved Loved Loved it!
JJ
Mar 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Could have been written today for the most part - swap out Jewish with Asian or any other culture's pressure on women to get married, but quick. Hooray for comic women voices, even 37 years later.
Janet Wertman
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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.
Paloma Meir
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The #1 funniest (dark humor) book I've ever read. It's out of print, which is a shame.
Jen Targ
Jan 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: existential
Meh.
Patricia
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
The build up was a fun read, but the end was......redundant.
Marsha
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious in its grim outlook, we look back on a time of emerging female independence, freewheeling carnal bouts, indifferent sexual encounters, endless partying and liberal drug use. All in the name of getting married.

Sheila Levine has had the message drummed into her from childhood that a woman isn’t complete until she’s married. Her mother talks about her youthful days when she was a raving beauty, about the beauty contest she won, about the many suitors she turned down for her husband’s hand
...more
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