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3.0 out of 5 stars
Treasure Island!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2012
This is a hilarious, witty, sophisticated, and also deeply sad novel. The narrative voice is brilliant and Levine gives readers just enough clues to piece together what's really going on, despite the unreliable (and at least slightly unbalanced) tour guide she gives us. The discrepancy between the narrator's narcissistic vision of her world and what the reader can infer is really going on creates a really compelling tension that pulls the reader through the narrative at a lightning-fast pace. And somehow, despite the narrator's delusion, narcissism, and pathological manipulation, Levine managed to cast her in a charming and empathetic light. Bravo, Sara Levine!

PS: Any violence toward humans and animals that takes place in this novel is relegated to an imaginary world and was not tested on actual humans and animals. ;)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2013
I love this book! I am also a vegan and an animal rights activist as well as someone who completely disagrees with much of our society's commodification of animals and the environment (and people). Many reviews on Sara Levine's novel make statements about her narrator being so offensive and obnoxious as well as a merciless animal abuser ... which she is (all of the above). But who says a narrator has to be likable or even someone you want to be friends with? Often in literature, narrators are unreliable or disagreeable people. Just because you don't like the narrator doesn't mean the book is terrible; the narrator is not Sara Levine, and the narrator is not speaking everything Sara Levine wants her readers to know. Actually, speaking straight through your narrator and telling your readers something from yourself is a kind of writing strategy that is often seen as obviously amateur or overly insistent and not open to interpretation. Part of the joy in reading is reading in-between the lines and figuring out what the writer is trying to do, or letting the emotions you feel from reading tell you something about the story.

I wrote my final essay for my major on the display of animal treatment in Levine's novel, looking at the character of Richard (the mistreated parrot) as a point of view in the story. I believe animal cruelty is terrible, because I believe animals have rights to their own beings; in thinking so, I think Richard has a right to his being a character in Levine's novel, and by naming him, reflecting on him, and placing him in the main action of her novel, Levine is seeing Richard as a character, too, so that her readers can see what is happening to these animals and what kind of ordinary, suburban, slightly ignorant, highly consumerist people exist out there that are doing it.

When I read my essay aloud for a symposium, Sara Levine came to read from her novel and participate. I talked with her, and she confirmed for me that this is true, what I interpreted in her novel. She's also a vegetarian who believes that it's wrong that we commodify animals in our society. And she was very sure to point out for my class and the symposium audience that her narrator is not her, but merely a character.

I really hope this helps sort out things on here! This book is really great. It's so funny in some parts, has great characters and quirky concepts, and still, at times it's so frustrating or controversial, and maybe that's a good thing! We need to start getting angry about these issues, and if you read this book, and you're getting angry, then hey - let's all do something about what we're angry about, not complain that the book was mean or offensive. Levine's novel should be taken seriously as a commentary on today's society. This book is definitely not condoning terrible behavior; it's mocking it and pointing out how wrong and ignorant it all is through her narrator, who can't even put her life together and who, although commits terrible and even violent acts, is a fairly ordinary representation of an immature American 25 year old woman and a good representation of many people in this country and world that need to be seen through this point of view.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2012
In 'Treasure Island!!!' Sara Levine gives Stevenson's novel the same sort of comic postmodern once-over that Julian Barnes gave 'Madame Bovary' in his great 'Flaubert's Parrot.' In Levine's version, boy-adventurer Jim Hawkins is replaced by a mildly demented female slacker who decides to remake her life in the image of 'Treasure Island.' Amazingly--frighteningly--she succeeds, sort of.

Levine is both a brilliant comedian and an acute literary critic. Stevenson's 'Treasure Island' is a great adventure story but as disturbing, in its way, as 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,' filled with graphic violence and unacknowledged depths of Freudian family drama. Levine makes manifest 'Treasure Island''s latent content. The result is both thought-provoking and laugh-out-loud funny.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2012
This funny, eccentric novel isn't for the faint of heart or people who like their protagonists warm and cuddly; but if you like a demented, narcissistic, and unreliable narrator who misguidedly uses Stevenson's Treasure Island as a self-help book then you are in for one of the funniest books I've ever read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
If you like sharp, sly literary fiction that goes down a dream, Treasure Island!!! will do nicely. I cannot imagine reading this novel without laughing several times out loud, especially at any of the bits (save one) starring Richard the exotic bird. The little miss in the starring role has got to be one of the funniest, most annoyingly narcissistic, socially tone deaf narrators in literature. She takes you to the very edge of hurling the novel at your nearest wall. Probably what saves her are the largish cast of other characters, who are as endearing and enjoyable as she is aggravating. That, and the underlying themes, which are serious enough to support the slight story.

I always get an extra measure of enjoyment reading books that I'm dead-certain the author enjoyed writing. Sara Levine must have enjoyed herself HUGEly creating this comic gem. Every writer's fantasy, or at least every comic writer's wish.

Rebecca Burke
Author, What If the Hokey Pokey Really Is What It's All About?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2012
After quickly scanning the summary of this audio book, I grabbed it. What caught my eye was a college graduate reads Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island and becomes convinced Stevenson's book is cosmically intended for her. Jim Hawkins becomes her hero, changing her life. Decisions are based on what would Jim Hawkins do? I found that funny. The idea also appealed to the OCD part of me, and this sick chick does become obsessed.

In my mind, when I read the summary, I envisioned a short and funny story. True enough, it was short. Only four discs-- 4 hours, 47 minutes. The story was funny, but in a snarky sort of way. The main character is a self-absorbed, calculating, irresponsible brat. In fact, I came close to walking away, but kept telling myself, just a few more minutes. Then a few minutes grew into a couple of hours and well, I couldn't stop listening. I had to know how it ended. Speaking which, the ending, that is, there wasn't one. Okay, maybe that's not exactly true, but there wasn't a solid one. Sara Levine's slice of life novella ended on an ironic note, leaving this reader to ponder.

No regrets with this audio book, but I wouldn't recommend it to pet lovers. The abuse and neglect over the Amazon parrot was hard to stomach. That said, Levine is a natural-born storyteller and the narrator, Emily Durante, captures the character's voice perfectly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2013
I am on my second read of this hilarious novel so that I can teach it in my graduate fiction class. This book is a wonder--a truly funny work of fiction of about a young, pathologically self-involved twenty-something woman who steals from her employer at the pet library, ends up with a huge, menacing bird, has trouble with her too-nice boyfriend, Lars, and ruins her sister's life.... Rarely do I come across a book with such an original vision, addictive voice, and bananas plot that doesn't feel fabulist or surreal--it's plausible, but bananas. I recommend this book to people with a wry sense of humor who wish more books felt edgy and risky in a totally un-pretensious, real way. Sara Levine, if you read this, I'm a big fan.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2012
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 Treasure Island and decides it has changed her life, who buys a parrot with money stolen from petty cash at the pet library, with a sister who is having an affair with the same elderly man that her own mother once slept with...It just goes on and on.

I can think of a dozen people who would loathe this book. Abhor. Possibly set on fire.

On the other hand, I can think of a dozen people who might think this Treasure Island (don't forget the !!!) has changed their lives.

You decide.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2012
I'm not sure what the naysayers were looking for....maybe a run-of -the-mill plot line? Head to your local CVS book rack to satisfy those needs. However, lovers of literature will see this book for the witty adventure the tale provides. Levine creates many an interesting turn of phrase - good imagery through thoughtful vocabulary. I like the protagonist - not your usual character, but still relatable - reminded me a bit of a Jennifer Belle or a T.C. Boyle protagonist. Anyway - this book is a quick read - and fun - so, give it a shot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2014
This is a tongue-in-cheek story about a young woman who HAS grown up but still does not know what she wants to do WHEN she grows up...or even how she wants to interact with her family, friends and employers. Her goal is to emulate a character from the real, original Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson; the result is continual disaster. Some of the dips and turns are pretty funny.

Recommended if you have a weird sense of humor.
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