Sunday, April 22, 2012

Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine

     Treasure Island!!! is a reluctant, anti-coming of age novel in which  our unnamed narrator, a jobless, neurotic, selfish twenty-something develops a full-blown obsession with Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.  With a questionably acquired parrot named Richard (who squawks phrases like "steer the boat, girlfriend!") and a stolen library copy of Treasure Island, our young narrator sets off on an adventure of her own.  Ok well maybe she ends up moving back in with her parents and sleeping all day, but it's not really about treasure-hunting.

     At first she comes across as funny, but perhaps a little too sarcastic.  Then she just gets obnoxious, and finally it is clear that our narrator is a completely deplorable person and likely a sociopath.  But even her horrible, egotistical tendencies are absurdly hilarious and entertaining.  Whether she's stealing money from her mom's purse, sabotaging her sister's relationship with a much older man, or preaching about the four "Core Values" of Treasure Island (BOLDNESS, RESOLUTION, INDEPENDENCE, HORN-BLOWING) this girl has completely lost touch with reality.  Here's a passage from chapter 10, in which she explains how the novel has inspired her to lead a life of adventure:
Well it takes an awful lot of energy to give birth to oneself.  It's not as though you do one bold thing and then you are bold.  The thing about adventure is that you have to keep on doing it, day in and day out.  I don't know, can it ever be definitively accomplished?  I hardly rest, I hardly can! (p. 61)
Actually, all she does is rest, but that's not the point.   Treasure Island!!! is a strange, quirky book with a very unlikeable narrator, but it may inspire you to take a few steps back from your own life and make sure that you are absolutely nothing like this narrator - so preoccupied and selfish that she's no longer the protagonist of her own story.

     But despite the narrator's lack of appeal, the book itself is ridiculously entertaining and addictive - it's one of those novels that just gets funnier and funnier the more you think about it.  Treasure Island!!! is relatively short (172 pages) but it leaves a big impression - as both a social satire and a unique, artistic work of literature.

Overall Rating: