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3.5 out of 5 stars
I Was Told There'd Be Cake
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2008
If you have American kids -- or may have them someday -- did you ever think of raising them in an interesting foreign country so they could come back as teens with a high coolness quotient? No? Would you send a Jewish ten-year-old to a Christian summer camp? and if you did, would you be surprised to hear that she played Mary in the "Christmas in July" pageant after the blond Girl from Darien was hobbled by a broken toe? Is there a collection of anything in your kitchen drawers, let's say toy ponies for example, that you worry about your mother finding if you die unexpectedly? and if so, would you dispose of them on a Brooklyn-bound subway train? Have you ever locked yourself out on moving day, from both old AND new apartments, requiring two expensive calls to the same sarcastic locksmith?

No? Then you're not like Sloane Crosley, the twenty-something author of "I Was Told There'd Be Cake." This little book of wildly assorted essays is a kind of cubist blueprint for the young, well-off, well-educated New York woman. Crosley's writing is irreverent about her family ("I have never met two people more afraid of their house burning down than my parents") and particularly about her (we hope) well-disguised friends. She says of a pair of dinner guests: "Because there are no more hippies, you don't call them hippies. (But if you ever saw two people on a beach, gorging themselves on whole-wheat burritos and pot, picking sand out of each other's toes, and diving into the water naked, that would be them.)"

You may wonder whether you care about Sloane Crosley's observations on her short life to date. That's one question I can't answer for you. I will tell you that while her experiences may be alien to anything you have ever done, thought or felt, the girl can write intelligently and with great humor; there are unifying principles in the human existence and she catalogs a subset of them very well . We're bound to hear more from this young writer, and if she brings her sardonic wit to deeper subjects it will be very well worth reading. This book was an entertaining look at her world. One star off for the essay format, as I believe her book would have been better served by a more linear memoir format.

Linda Bulger, 2008
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2009
Sloane Crosley has written herself a seriously funny collection of essays that deserves to be up there with David Sedaris, if just a shelf lower. She's young (26ish?) but that doesn't mean she has nothing to say about her life so far. Her observations of the world around her (New York) and herself (self-deprecating and honest) are what make this collection not only funny, but more than something superficial. She has the courage to reveal a lot of herself to her readers, and poke fun in the process. And, although this kind of self-deprecating style can come off as pompous in other essayists (I think here of Augusten Burroughs), she manages to keep it under wraps.

There are a few times when her attempts at going a bit deeper than the surface fall flat and come off as a bit forced, her point hammered home just a tad too hard. And there were a few times when I felt myself wishing that the pace was a bit quicker, some of the essays going on a bit too long (her stint as a bridesmaid comes to mind here). But there were many times when I laughed out loud, particularly in the essay about how she locked herself out of two separate apartments on moving day.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this and look forward to another collection.
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on June 6, 2010
I enjoyed this book and bought it for two of my friends. It was well written, insightful and made me laugh. I am quite happy to see that another book is in the works.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2010
I wish someone would've told me this before buying this book. I loved Chelsea Handler's book, and Amazon suggested this one when I was looking for her new book. So I bought it. Bad decision. Couldn't even finish the first short story. Tried to read the other stories, but couldn't. Not funny, and she drags on over lame stuff for way too long..This is my first review, I never do these, but I felt that this book was so bad, I had to write one.
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on August 24, 2015
Didnt particularly enjoy her writing style. Ok book.
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on January 1, 2015
Good read. Recommended.
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