Top positive review
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"I had always chalked up my feelings of isolation as a child to being a child"
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