There are times in life when one’s hand moves, with the autonomous drive of a divining rod, toward a book that is the very thing needed at that precise moment. Needed for what? Needed, one learns within a page or two, to be The Source, the new idea, the clear, firm, blessedly wakening voice that can save you. This is the choice made by the unnamed female narrator of Treasure Island!!!, a novel that chases with a high-held lantern its unpunctuated namesake, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. The first novel by seasoned short-fiction writer Sara Levine, Treasure Island!!! offers a wild, funny, rambunctiously surprising look at what happens when the very thing needed to shake up a life does its job far too well. When a trip to the library allows her searching grip to land on the spine of Treasure Island (“It’s classic. The gold letters say so.”), our girl is hopeless, hapless, and, at twenty-five, burrowing weakly into the sandy soil of postcollegiate living. Through TI, as the locals call the buccaneer-themed Las Vegas casino of the same name, the narrator discovers a way out of the doldrums and into a white-water adventure. Intrinsically, this isn’t a bad impulse, self-diagnosing and then medicating through fiction. Nonetheless, we are soon reminded to use even the mildest drugs with caution.
more from Alison Powell at the LA Review of Books here.