Synopses & 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 from her friends, raced for the beach, stolen a boat, killed a man, and eliminated an obstacle that stood in the way of her getting a hunk of gold?
Convinced that Stevenson's book is cosmically intended for her, she redesigns her life according to its Core Values: boldness, resolution, independence and horn-blowing. Accompanied by her mother, her sister, and a hostile Amazon parrot that refuses to follow the script, our heroine embarks on a domestic adventure more frightening than anything she'd originally planned.
Treasure Island!!! is the story of a ferocious obsession, told by an original voice — intelligent, perverse, relentlessly self-extricating, and funny.
"In Levine's first novel, an unnamed 25-year-old heroine, ambivalent about her boyfriend and unhappy in her job at the Pet Library (lending furry or finned companionship in lieu of books) adopts Treasure Island as a roadmap for life. Taking the book's 'Core Values' of 'boldness, resolution, independence, horn-blowing' to heart, she stops cleaning up after the pets, uses her boss's life-savings to acquire a parrot, and generally makes a huge pill of herself to everyone around her. With its three exclamation points, the novel promises irreverent fun, and certainly has an absurdist zaniness and charm, especially in the beginning. But instead of sympathizing with a slacker's efforts, however misguided, to change her life, we grow increasingly restless as it becomes clear that the main thing she's resolute about is never noticing the effect she has on friends and family. The way Levine's (Short Dark Oracles) narrator presents her actions and the cavalcade of misfortunes they bring as justified will make readers wonder if the author is sending up memoirs or 20-something self-involvement, but it doesn't feel like a send-up, and it's hard to get behind this heroine, who seems less humorously deluded than tiresome." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Sara Levine teaches at the Art Institute of Chicago. Her stories have appeared in The Iowa Review, Nerve, Conjunctions, Necessary Fiction, Sonora Review, and other magazines. She won a 2008 Bridport Prize for Fiction, a Special Mention in The Pushcart Anthology, and three citations in The Best American Essays. Her writing has been anthologized in Best of Fence: The First Nine Years and The Touchstone Anthology of Creative Nonfiction: 1970 to the Present.