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The Boston Bibliophile: "I laughed my way through...this addictive little pageturner."

Date: Jan 3 2012

REVIEW: Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine

Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine. Published 2011 by Europa Editions.

Okay, so I miscounted and late last year found that I still needed one more book to complete Amante Level in the Europa Challenge. I'm glad I realized this when I did, or else I'd be up the creek and it would be too embarrassing to start a challenge I couldn't finish myself.

Luckily I had Treasure Island!!! in my TBR pile; a hilarious comic novel, I read it in a day and just did not want to put it down. I finished this book late on the 30th and posted my review to Europa Challenge blog that day! The narrator, an unnamed 25 year old woman, isn't an unreliable narrator so much as a mad narrator. Unreliable narrators typically have a reason for the deceptions and half-truths they unleash on the reader; an unreliable narrator is often in control of the narrative and is covering something up, or making a case for him or herself, or telling the story a certain way for a particular reason. This narrator is simply delusional and appears to have no idea or concern about how she comes across either to the reader or to her longsuffering family and friends.

She starts out as a somewhat typically aimless young adult, working a demeaning job (at something called the Pet Library) and trying to figure out her place in the world. It's not working for Nancy, the Library's owner, and the narrator proves her point by stealing money and buying a parrot, who she then abuses flamboyantly. She is equally abusive to her patient and loving boyfriend Lars, her parents and her sister, all of whom love her and all of whom become her victims in one way or another. She becomes obsessed with the classic Stevenson novel Treasure Island and tries to live according to her interpretations of its lessons with disastrous results.

Is this woman likeable? No, but she's hilarious. Full of self-pity, endless self-serving justifications and boundless illusions, she's nonetheless pitiable, lonely, and searching for love. She just doesn't know what to do with it when it comes her way. I laughed my way through all 172-odd pages of this quickly moving, addictive little pageturner. Read it when you need a good long chuckle on a day when you're not feeling too judgemental. It'll do you some good.

Okay, now I've completed Amante Level! Now, onto the Europa Challenge for 2012!