Sunday, July 13, 2008

Review: Sloane Crosley's 'I Was Told There'd Be Cake'

I Was Told There'd Be Cake
by Sloane Crosley
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Published: April
Pages: 230
List Price: $14

Synopsis: Sloane Crosley, evidently in her late 20s or early 30s, turns her life's fumbles and misadventures into wry, humorous essays. Crosley's self-mockery lends a ring of truth. You can't make this stuff up.

Why it's a good beach book: It's funny and easy to follow. It puts everyday life at arm's length - exactly what you want at the beach. It views life, love, and jobs through humor-tinted glasses. Plus, it's paperback: easy to tote.

Details, details, details: In the essay "Fuck you, Columbus," Crosley tells the story of moving from a two-bedroom apartment in New York City to a studio apartment three blocks away. She locks her keys in her old apartment, and pays $280 for a locksmith. Later the same day, she locks her keys in her new apartment, and gets a whopping $20 reduction on the second bill. She amicably parts ways with her roommate. She "had the bonus of living with someone with a healthy penchant for childish pranks. Into our newly adult lives there crept the occasional short-sheeting of my bed or setting of my alarm clock for an obscure time. And then hiding it. Who would keep me on my toes now? You can't exactly scare yourself out of the hiccups or glue your own toothbrush to the ceiling." At times, Crosley is easier to understand if you've lived in a big city; at other times, she will be easier to get if you're female. But overall, these essays are down-to-earth and for everyone. I can't speak for Dave Sedaris' most recent book, but Crosley's I Was Told There'd Be Cake belongs on your shelf next to Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.

-Colin Foote Burch, member of the National Book Critics Circle and the Society of Professional Journalists

This article originally appeared in this summer book roundup in the Weekly Surge of Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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