Monday, July 19, 2010

I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

Autobiographical essays by a funny young woman who isn't embarrassed to write about her mistakes. And she does make a lot of them. She marches to a different drummer, one that is a little offbeat. Her topics include being Jewish and attending a Christian summer camp; being maid of honour to a bride she barely knows; locking herself out of her apartment and so on. My favourite piece is Bastard out of Westchester, where she writes about having an unusual first name: "Like a lunatic in the psych ward with only smocks and slippers for clothes, my name is the one definite thing I own."

Crosley's voice is borderline whiny; I think that was the quality that had me spacing out each essay by reading other books in between. On the plus side, she is not as bitchy as David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs, but she has more snark than Susan Jane Gilman (Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress). Cheryl Peck (Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs) is more tongue-in-cheek. Beth Lisick (Everybody into the Pool) is funnier and has more punk culture asthetic. David Rakoff (Don't Get Too Comfortable) is a little crankier and more pretentious. Hillary Carlip (Queen of the Oddballs) is more desperate and has a pop culture asthetic. Yet, if you enjoy any of these authors, I think you would also like Crosley. Her new collection is How Did You Get this Number.

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