Wry, hilarious, and profoundly genuine, this debut collection of literary essays is a celebration of fallibility and haplessness in all their glory. From despoiling an exhibit at the Natural History Museum to provoking the ire of her first boss to siccing the cops on her mysterious neighbor, Crosley can do no right despite the best of intentions-or perhaps because of them. Together, these essays create a startlingly funny and revealing portrait of a complex and utterly recognizable character that's aiming for the stars but hits the ceiling, and the inimitable city that has helped shape who she is. I Was Told There'd Be Cake introduces a strikingly original voice, chronicling the struggles and unexpected beauty of modern urban life.
BASTARD OUT OF WESTCHESTER
If I ever have kids, this is what Im going to do with them: I am going to give birth to them on foreign soilpreferably the soil of someplace like Oostende or Antwerpdestinations that have the allure of being obscure, freezing, and impossibly cultured. These are places in which people are casually trilingual and everyone knows how to make good coffee and gourmet dinners at home without having to shop for specific ingredients. Everyone has hip European sneakers that effortlessly look like the exact pair youve been searching for your whole life. Everything is sweetened with honey and even the generic-brand Q-tips are aesthetically packaged. People die from old age or crimes of passion or because they fall off glaciers. All the women are either thin, thin and happy, fat and happy, or thin and miserable in a glamorous way. Somehow none of their Italian heels get caught in the fifteenth-century cobblestone. Ever.
This is where I want to ...
Some essays are mere snapshots, with endings that leave one wondering what happened after the last line. Others start off being about one thing and cover a lot of ground before ending on an entirely different topic, but somehow it all seems to flow. Sometimes she ends with a zinger, yet it's not always successful, or for that matter, consistent. The essays are of varying lengths, which makes for unpredictable reading, and not necessarily in a good way .... Crosley may be young, but her talent is obvious, making it safe to predict that this book will be the first of many.
(Reviewed by Lisa A. Goldstein).
Full Review (763 words).
Did you know?
In addition to being a writer, Sloane Crosley (30 years old this August) holds a full-time job as a publicist for Vintage Books, a division of Random House, in New York where she has worked with Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, Jonathan Lethem and Dave Eggers, among others.
In the winter of 2004, Crosley emailed a group of friends about the story that later became "Fuck You, Columbus." One of the recipients of this email was an editor at The Village Voice. He told her that if she made it a little tighter and wrote an introduction, he would publish it. That was the start of her essay career. Prior to this, she had only written longer fiction (unpublished), but fell in love with essay writing.
I Was Told There'd...
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