BookBrowse Reviews I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

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I Was Told There'd Be Cake

by Sloane Crosley

I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley X
I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
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  • Paperback:
    Apr 2008, 240 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa A. Goldstein

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A strikingly original voice, chronicles the struggles and unexpected beauty of modern urban life

Sloane Crosley, according to her bio on the back of the book, wrote the cover story for the worst-selling issue of Maxim in the magazine's history. Chances are if she's broadcasting that fact, she'll put all her foibles on display and make us laugh at them along with her. Add that to the publisher's comparison that Crosley is a 21st century David Sedaris and Dorothy Parker, and the reader is prepared for a sly and humorous collection of essays.

While Crosley shows her youth, she lives up to the hype, taking the minutiae of everyday life and injecting it with her unique humor. She is a person to whom crazy things happen, like being locked out of her old and new apartments on the same day, or finding feces on her bathroom floor after a dinner party.

As she humorously describes situations that people can relate to, like the first real job after college, her (mis)adventures evoke memories of the iconic show Seinfeld. When talking about the difficulties of having a unique name, she recalls the various ways in which people ask about or mangle her name. Number 10 on the list is the 32 times "I have received an e-mail with my name spelled incorrectly in response to an e-mail originating from me and therefore making use of the correct spelling of my name and thus have passive-aggressively retaliated by leaving off the last letter of the sender's name in all future correspondence: 'Thanks for getting back to me, Rebecc.'"

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. The casual reference to drugs is a bit disturbing, though perhaps for a twenty-something in New York, it's more commonplace than one might realize.

Ironically, there's no title essay, so where does the title come from? Like the lure of cake at the wedding Crosley attended, so the reader is drawn to this essay collection. Yet we are left with a relationship that, unlike Crosley's with her newly married friend, is sure to grow. 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

This review is from the May 15, 2008 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

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