Summary and book reviews of Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley

Look Alive Out There

Essays

by Sloane Crosley

Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley X
Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2018, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2019, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
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About this Book

Book Summary

A brand-new collection of essays filled with hilarity, wit, and charm. The characteristic heart and punch-packing observations are back, but with a newfound coat of maturity. A thin coat. More of a blazer, really.

Fans of I Was Told There'd Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number know Sloane Crosley's life as a series of relatable but madcap misadventures. In Look Alive Out There, whether it's scaling active volcanoes, crashing shivas, playing herself on Gossip Girl, befriending swingers, or squinting down the barrel of the fertility gun, Crosley continues to rise to the occasion with unmatchable nerve and electric one-liners. And as her subjects become more serious, her essays deliver not just laughs but lasting emotional heft and insight. Crosley has taken up the gauntlets thrown by her predecessors - Dorothy Parker, Nora Ephron, David Sedaris - and crafted something rare, affecting, and true.

Look Alive Out There arrives on the tenth anniversary of I Was Told There'd be Cake, and Crosley's essays have managed to grow simultaneously more sophisticated and even funnier. And yet she's still very much herself, and it's great to have her back - and not a moment too soon (or late, for that matter).

Wheels Up

I am running late for the airport, trying to catch a cab on my street corner. A woman in a wheelchair and her date, a man, arrive at the corner seconds after me. They pretend not to see me and I pretend not to see them, which is the kind of cutthroat strategy New Yorkers employ when embarking on otherwise benign activities. It's partially to avoid conflict and partially to claim innocence in the event of the finger. As the minutes pass and no cabs come, the tension grows. I make a big show of checking the time and rotating my suitcase back and forth. At long last, a cab drifts in our direction. Under normal circumstances the cab would be mine. I have the clear lead. But this particular vehicle is the model with the sliding doors, designated for handicapped access. Seeing as how my plane will definitely crash if I steal a cab from a woman in a wheelchair, I step aside.

"Here," I say, "you guys take it."

"Thanks so much," says the man.

And for a whole three seconds, everyone...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Some of the pieces here are mere vignettes, tiny moments of observation or connection that span only a page or two, while others resemble longer journalistic pieces in which, inevitably, Crosley herself is the hapless protagonist even as she investigates the capriciousness of modern life. Look Alive Out There is sure to satisfy the long-time fans of her witty, sardonic personal essays while her new maturity will also gain her new ones.   (Reviewed by Norah Piehl).

Full Review Members Only (519 words).

Media Reviews

Library Journal
Crosley's growth and maturity as a writer shines in this collection, and it's fair to say: she is the millennial's Nora Ephron.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. [Crosley] continues her tradition of hilarious insight into the human condition ... [she] is exceedingly clever and has a witticism for all occasions, but it is her willingness to confront some of life's darker corners with honesty and vulnerability that elevates the collection.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. A marvel ... All [the essays] work on multiple levels and all are sharply written, as Crosley continues to extend her impressive range.

Booklist
Laugh-out-loud funny seems too trite a phrase for a writer whose takes are so addictively original and unexpected, but it’s also true: dear readers, you will laugh. Whether 2 or 20 pages in length, Crosley’s essays are complete and stop-you-in-your-tracks clever.

Author Blurb Steve Martin
Sloane Crosley does the impossible. She stays consistently funny and delivers a book that is alive and jumping.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Cotopaxi - Ecuadorian Volcano

CotopaxiAmong other things, Crosley is a travel writer, and one of the most enjoyable essays in her new collection Look Alive Out There recounts her near-disastrous attempt to summit Cotopaxi, a volcano in Ecuador, more or less on a whim.

Cotopaxi, part of the Andes mountain chain, is the second-highest mountain in Ecuador (at 19,347 feet), and one of the world's tallest active volcanoes. It has erupted more than fifty times in the last three hundred years, most recently in 2015 and 2016. Hundreds of thousands of people live in relatively close proximity to Cotopaxi, close enough to be significantly affected if (and when) it erupts again.

Cotopaxi EruptingThe most recent eruption put a temporary halt to climbing activities on the volcano, which reopened...

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