I WAS TOLD THERE’D BE CAKE by Sloane Crosley


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Humorous collection of autobiographical essays from a single, 20-something woman in New York City.

Crosley begins by reminiscing about the peculiarities of her parents and sister, and the childhood influences that amused and obsessed her. One piece riffs on the now-defunct computer game Oregon Trail, which provided “the illusion I was actually going somewhere.” At age 12, little did she know that she would become a well-connected book publicist in New York. Much of the material concerns haphazard encounters from her early adult years. She appears to have made an indelible impression on her many close friends and acquaintances, as demonstrated when a former high-school classmate phoned seemingly out of the blue to ask Crosley to be her maid of honor. This is exactly the sort of awkwardly one-sided intimacy that the author stumbles upon, gets tangled in and then, with an inward grimace and external graciousness, attempts to make the best of. One of the strongest and funniest essays tracks her tenure as an assistant to a woman with whom she definitely did not get along. Their antagonistic relationship deteriorated into stony silence after Crosley baked a cookie in her boss’s likeness and presented it at the office. “Sometimes, when you do something so marvelously idiotic,” she writes, “it’s hard to retrace your thought process using the functional logic now available to you.” Another, about her move from one Manhattan apartment to another, tells of the day she managed to lock herself out of both. In Crosley’s version of adulthood, her gravest responsibility is to protect and revel in her own happiness and well-being. Her essays display the same exacting attention to detail as those of David Sedaris and an exuberance similar to Beth Lisick’s, along with a self-deprecating slant and appealing modesty all her own: “Should I get killed during the day…back in the apartment I never should have left, the bed has gone unmade and the dishes unwashed.”

Witty and entertaining.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59448-306-6
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Riverhead
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2008


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