Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloan Crosley

Sloane Crosley is a pretty young woman who grew up moderately smart, upper-middle-class, and suburban. She seems to be nice enough, but very little has happened to her, and she hasn't thought about any of it all that much, either.

I Was Told There'd Be Cake is Crosley's first book, a collection of somewhat humorous, somewhat memoirish essays collected from a variety of sources. It's not all the way over to humor, though you might find it in that section of your book store. (Mostly because the chains don't really have a "tasteful essays" section." And the memoir aspect doesn't extend all that far -- Crosley keeps the audience at a distance from her real emotional life, and most of the surface details of that life as well.

Crosley is a pleasant writer, but, from the evidence here, not enough has happened to her to warrant writing about it. She either needs to do more or to think more; writing surface-y thoughts about bland, common events is cute for a short while, but it's nothing to build a career on. (Then again, Crosley has a real day-job career as a publicist, so she may be content to keep writing this sort of thing.)

I picked up I Was Told There Would Be Cake at the library mostly because Gawker spent the summer picking on Crosley -- mostly for being pretty and well-connected, which are not reasonable things to complain about. (That her essays are a bit dull and obvious, though -- that's fair game.) As usual, malicious gossip and underhand attacks only raise the profile of the person being attacked -- I, and probably thousands of others, only read Crosley's book because of Gawker.

On the other hand, if we all have a similar reaction -- sure, she's cute and well-connected, but so what? -- the outlook for Crosley's second book are not as good.


moonrat said...

hmm, interesting review. i found some of her essays REALLY resonant. particularly "You on a Stick" which made me pee my pants. oh, also the one about the ponies. and the poo on the carpet. and ESPECIALLY (of course) "The Ursula Cookie," which alas i fear she probably censored portions of.

i think, perhaps, i was the target audience. i don't know sloane or anyone who knows her, but i liked the book a lot!

moonrat said...

oh, here btw was my review from June. looks like i still feel the same 6 months later.


Andrew Wheeler said...

Moonrat: It's entirely possible that I failed to connect with I Was Told There'd Be Cake because I'm not female and no longer in my twenties -- maybe she is more resonant and thoughtful than I found her.

It just struck me as meringue-like: sweet, fluffy, but mostly full of air.

moonrat said...

yeah, i get that. but for me, it was really funny air.

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