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From the author of the novel, The Clasp, hailed by Michael Chabon, Heidi Julavits, and J. Courtney Sullivan. Wry, hilarious, and profoundly genuine, this debut collection of literary essays from Sloane Crosley is a celebration of fallibility and haplessness in all their glory. From despoiling an exhibit at the Natural History Museum to provoking the ire of her first boss to From the author of the novel, The Clasp, hailed by Michael Chabon, Heidi Julavits, and J. Courtney Sullivan. Wry, hilarious, and profoundly genuine, this debut collection of literary essays from Sloane Crosley is a celebration of fallibility and haplessness in all their glory. From despoiling an exhibit at the Natural History Museum to provoking the ire of her first boss to siccing the cops on her mysterious neighbor, Crosley can do no right despite the best of intentions -- or perhaps because of them. Together, these essays create a startlingly funny and revealing portrait of a complex and utterly recognizable character who aims for the stars but hits the ceiling, and the inimitable city that has helped shape who she is. I Was Told There'd Be Cake introduces a strikingly original voice, chronicling the struggles and unexpected beauty of modern urban life. The pony problem -- Christmas in July -- The ursula cookie -- Bring your machete to work day -- The good people of this dimension -- Bastard out of Westchester -- The beauty of strangers -- Fuck you, Columbus -- One-night bounce -- Sign language for infidels -- You on a stick -- Height of luxury -- Smell this -- Lay like broccoli -- Fever faker


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From the author of the novel, The Clasp, hailed by Michael Chabon, Heidi Julavits, and J. Courtney Sullivan. Wry, hilarious, and profoundly genuine, this debut collection of literary essays from Sloane Crosley is a celebration of fallibility and haplessness in all their glory. From despoiling an exhibit at the Natural History Museum to provoking the ire of her first boss to From the author of the novel, The Clasp, hailed by Michael Chabon, Heidi Julavits, and J. Courtney Sullivan. Wry, hilarious, and profoundly genuine, this debut collection of literary essays from Sloane Crosley is a celebration of fallibility and haplessness in all their glory. From despoiling an exhibit at the Natural History Museum to provoking the ire of her first boss to siccing the cops on her mysterious neighbor, Crosley can do no right despite the best of intentions -- or perhaps because of them. Together, these essays create a startlingly funny and revealing portrait of a complex and utterly recognizable character who aims for the stars but hits the ceiling, and the inimitable city that has helped shape who she is. I Was Told There'd Be Cake introduces a strikingly original voice, chronicling the struggles and unexpected beauty of modern urban life. The pony problem -- Christmas in July -- The ursula cookie -- Bring your machete to work day -- The good people of this dimension -- Bastard out of Westchester -- The beauty of strangers -- Fuck you, Columbus -- One-night bounce -- Sign language for infidels -- You on a stick -- Height of luxury -- Smell this -- Lay like broccoli -- Fever faker

30 review for I Was Told There'd Be Cake: Essays

  1. 4 out of 5

    RandomAnthony

    HOW TO WRITE A MEMOIR/PERSONAL COLLECTION OF ESSAYS LIKE SEDARIS, BURROUGHS, VOWELL, KLOSTERMAN, AND NOW SLOANE CROSBY: So you want to be a successful memoirist/personal essayist? Follow these ten steps and wait for the book deals to roll into your mailbox! 1. Write about your upbringing in ways that make it sound charming in its quirkiness (e.g. the Vowell/Klosterman strategy), charming in its weirdness (the Sedaris strategy) or terrifying (the Burroughs strategy). Under no circumstances should y HOW TO WRITE A MEMOIR/PERSONAL COLLECTION OF ESSAYS LIKE SEDARIS, BURROUGHS, VOWELL, KLOSTERMAN, AND NOW SLOANE CROSBY: So you want to be a successful memoirist/personal essayist? Follow these ten steps and wait for the book deals to roll into your mailbox! 1. Write about your upbringing in ways that make it sound charming in its quirkiness (e.g. the Vowell/Klosterman strategy), charming in its weirdness (the Sedaris strategy) or terrifying (the Burroughs strategy). Under no circumstances should you have normal, perceptive parents who were socially adept with no strange habits whatsoever. No one wants to read about that. 2. Write about high school and college, but make sure you don’t make your experience sound too fun or interesting.. Make sure you write about your social and academic struggles and/or humiliations so your readers can either relate and/or feel superior. Do not be popular at college or high school! This is the kiss of death. Make sure you paint yourself as kind of a loser. 3. Write about the shitty jobs you’ve had. Remember, some of your readers may have shitty jobs and want to be successful writers themselves. You have to give them the glimmer of hope that they, too, will be someday interviewed by Terry Gross on “Fresh Air”. 4. Write about religion but only from a distant “my family wasn’t that into it” or “my family was into it but I’m not now” perspective. Stating “I still go to mass every Sunday, yep, sit in the back pew” will kill your book deal. 5. Write about your family, of course, but choose a strategy (see #1) and stick with it. Make sure you are alternately embarrassed in front of and embarrassed by your family. Loving parents are ok as long as they’re generally clueless. 6. Write at least one chapter/essay as a mash note to New York City. If this can be combined with the shitty job (see #3) all the better. Make sure you refer to New York in ways people who have never been to NY will not understand (e.g. “I lived in the seventies”) but would like to pretend they do. Describe your small and crappy apartment. Extra points if you can work in a 9/11 reference. 7. Be gay. 8. If you can’t be gay, then address both the fact you have chosen your dates/relationships badly (e.g. dated strange, almost psychotic partners) and behaved poorly in other situations (e.g. blown it with the potentially perfect partner). Do not admit to having a healthy romantic relationship unless you catalog your previous poor choices and frame your current relationship within a lens of redemption (e.g. the Jancee Dunn method). Describe at least one sexual encounter gone awry. 9. Reference slightly obscure pop culture as much as possible. Bands, television shows, etc. all work. Your readers will recognize these references and think that if they write about, say, the first time they saw “Twin Peaks” then they too can be successful memoirists/essayists. 10. Include a few drug/alcohol experiences but do not get into sad, “I’m a drug addict" territory. That’s a different type of book (exception: Burrough’s Dry). Don’t forget to frame these experiences as more or less harmless but connected to #s 2, 3, and 8 above when appropriate. And how does Ms. Crosley acquit herself? Well, she’s sort of like one of those hitters who either roll a grounder to the pitcher or knock it out of the park. The first few essays left me rolling my eyes and wondering if the book was worth finishing. Then, in rapid succession, “You On A Stick” (required reading for every woman who ever dreaded the “will you be my bridesmaid?” request, esp. from someone she doesn’t know very well), “Smell This” (about finding a small bead of poop on your bathroom floor after a dinner party), and “Lay Like Broccoli” (about the author’s return from the vegan desert) rendered the time spent with Ms. Crosley worthwhile. Still, I read I Was Told There’d Be Cake in just a few hours; so borrow the book from a friend or library as I would struggle rationalizing dropping fifteen bucks on such a quick read. I wasn’t wowed by most of the book although a few essays (at least by comparison to the bad ones) shined through as worthwhile. Pretty good, but didn’t rock my socks. Maybe next time. (P.S. The author’s back cover pic is hawt.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    First, I have to be fair-I only read about 3/4 of this book because it was all I could stand. Maybe the last 1/4 was amazing. I found it rambling, uninspired, boring and not very funny. It sounded like the stories you tell your friends-your friends think the stories are funny because they know you. Maybe they even tell you that you're really funny and you should write all these stories down and publish them because you are so funny and your stories are so unique. But you know better. You know tha First, I have to be fair-I only read about 3/4 of this book because it was all I could stand. Maybe the last 1/4 was amazing. I found it rambling, uninspired, boring and not very funny. It sounded like the stories you tell your friends-your friends think the stories are funny because they know you. Maybe they even tell you that you're really funny and you should write all these stories down and publish them because you are so funny and your stories are so unique. But you know better. You know that only your friends will think your stories are funny and that they're not really all that different from any other creative type's silly family antics. This lady doesn't seem to catch on to that and she's not my friend so I just don't care about what happens in her fairly tepid life. I don't know her personally. She's probably fun to hang out with. Or not. But the long winded, self-centered rambling is just too much in this writing. She wants the reader to know her, but I find there wasn't much to know or care about. Stick with Laurie Notaro.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I started writing a review 1/2 way through the book because I had a lot to say about Ms. Crossley. I'm posting the 1/2 way point review because I just couldn't finish the book. ***** I’m more then 1/2 way through “I Was Told There’d Be Cake”, a book of essays by Sloane Crosley. I started it Sunday, by this morning’s bus ride I’ve plowed through this book relatively easily. She’s a good writer. She manages to keep my ever wandering attention as I over stimulate myself on Muni with a coffee, my ipod I started writing a review 1/2 way through the book because I had a lot to say about Ms. Crossley. I'm posting the 1/2 way point review because I just couldn't finish the book. ***** I’m more then 1/2 way through “I Was Told There’d Be Cake”, a book of essays by Sloane Crosley. I started it Sunday, by this morning’s bus ride I’ve plowed through this book relatively easily. She’s a good writer. She manages to keep my ever wandering attention as I over stimulate myself on Muni with a coffee, my ipod and the pressing need to scan the bus for possible pick pockets. That, in itself, is impressive, as I’m never one of those people who can read on public transportation. I’m either caught up in the ‘pod or I’m completely passed out and drooling I’ve felt the need to mention this book to both my sees-ter and to my boyfriend on the phone about how I’m almost done the book, but there is something about her, about this author, that feels unauthentic. There is this weird distrust I have for her. I read these stories, these essays about her life in New York City post graduation and I have flat out, after the first 8 page essay, decided that I do not like her. I do not like her. I read the first essay about her need to collect plastic ponies and how each one represented a failed relationship and then turned to the back cover of the book, took one look at her picture and noted her startling resemblance to my dear friend Miranda (who just got married in Mexico). Miranda is pretty in a very universal way. Gay, Straight, Man, Woman, Cat, Dog, everyone is attracted to Miranda. A myriad number of my gay friends have noted that they would date her if they were straight. Couple the pretty with a crass sense of humor and a penchant for drinking beer for 8 hours straight and she’s the most sought after woman I know, well, until most recently now that she is married to Greg, who is also pretty in a very universal way. They are an attractive couple. They’re the kind of couple you see having brunch on a Sunday morning, in their pajamas, their dark skin dewy and glowing with pretty. They’re the couple, when you are single, that you wished you were a part of. Back to “Cake”. Sloane. Sloane looks like Miranda. I read her quirky piece about ponies and relationships and all I can see is Miranda. Miranda is skinny, dark skinned, long haired and quirky. She is weird in a very real way. One that doesn’t make sense, but sorta does. Sloane and the pony collecting? Doesn’t make sense. It feels forced. I don’t buy it for a second. It is after this revelation on Sunday that I realize I am now caught in a situation where I see the movie before reading the book and now all I see are the actors playing their roles and not any real composite of ideas of these people that the author meant to portray. Strike one. Against me. I did this to myself. I can’t blame the author. It’s not her fault she’s a doppelganger for one of my best friends. After several more essays, one about the horrible boss ala ‘Devil Wears Prada’ or the less fluffy version ‘Swimming with Sharks’, I started to get annoyed. While she’s not perpetuating the “Carrie Bradshaw” syndrome, I really don’t need to know what it’s like to be young, single, living in New York City. If I wanted to, I could have done that. It would have been easy enough to move from Boston to NYC after college, get an office job and spend my time wondering if the purpose of my life is to look good, date the wrong men and steal office supplies from work. I feel like everyone knows what it’s like to be single in New York City now. You don’t even have to have done it, all you have to do is watch television or read books like this one, and you feel a familiar camaraderie with the author, yeah, I feel your pain sister. But I don’t. I don’t feel your pain. I never wanted to live in New York and I still don’t and for some reason when I see or read something that is supposed to make me think that living in New York is the shit, the absolute end-all, be-all, my toes get all weird and curl under, my hands come to my head and scratch and I feel my brain ache. Stop talking to me. Stop talking to me people who think NYC is where all the coolness comes from. It’s not me. It’s never been me. I think this reaction comes from living in Los Angeles, the dreaded West Coast red-headed step child. LA is supposed to be where the pretty is supposed to live. And people are pretty in LA. Totally. But those aren’t people. Those are Fembots. But back to Sloane and ‘Cake’. Strike Two. Against New York. I can’t handle. Now faced with the bottom half of the book, the 150 pages ahead of me where the author can either make me feel better about all of this and I can walk away with a better understanding of why she had to do this to me in the beginning to get to a better place in the end. I do not feel like this will happen. I don’t trust it to happen, but I know I will ride out the remainder of ‘Cake’ and tuck it away in a bookshelf somewhere or give it to a friend so I don’t have to see it again. Not because of my complete hatred for it, as I do not hate this book, really, but because of the unsettling feeling it gives me. I used to write personal essays. None of them include collecting ponies that signified relationships. None of them took place in New York City. I was on the phone with my mother on Friday where she asked about the boyfriend and where he came from and what’s going on and I answered her questions honestly and succinct. She sounded pleased with my responses and her tone of voice came through showing her approval. Until she busted out with: “Just make sure you’re making the right decisions.“ The conversation veered right off the Yellow Brick Road and into something right out of Nightmare on Elm Street. “What was that?” I asked. “Make sure you’re making the right decisions,” she said firmly with no humor whatsoever in her voice. It was later on that it hit me that I seemed to have stopped writing because I’ve started making the right decisions. At least ones that I believe are leading me in the right direction. This has left me with very little to say as I live my quaint little life, work, sleep, eat, yoga. I’m not going to be writing personal essays about receiving a phone call at 3AM and heading out of my apartment in my pajamas to meet someone I know who is poison for me. I’m no longer going to have stories to tell about calling in sick to work because I still smell like tequila. I will no longer be peeing in the unisex bathroom at a gay bar looking at everyone’s penis’ because I can. I have not eaten questionable meat found in the fridge since I lived with Carleen and if that does not mark the beginning of the straight and narrow, I don’t know what does. I’m all the more glad for it though. I’m relieved that all of that is pretty much over. I’m tired. I can’t do it anymore. It’s too much work to be in a shitty relationship. It’s a Herculean effort to stomach a tequila hangover these days. I’d rather sip my whiskey to stave off the winter chill that is July in San Francisco or consume enough beer to do the drunk foot shuffle straight to my bed to sleep off the crazy. Strike three. Against…time. And life. And changes. It’s not Sloane’s fault that I am old and she is not. I’m left not liking her anecdotes because I’m no longer in my 20s making bad decisions. I’m no longer searching for some sort of identity, because I have one already. I know who I am. I know what I’m doing. I’m making a conscience effort to make the right choices because it makes life that much more easier. If I do not eat this ice cream bar I will be one step further from Type II Diabetes. If I do not consume this liter of Jameson in one night I will not throw up tomorrow morning. If I go to yoga, I feel better. If I eat at Burger King it will be Shitcapades 2000. If I talk to the ex, I’m asking for trouble and it’s too emotionally draining to deal with. I’d rather pour that emotion into things I love, like Jake, like my friends, like baking. I freaking love baking. It’s insane. It only makes sense that I’m turning 32 this weekend.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Occasionally humorous, but the humor of the spoiled of upper-middle-class woes such as forgetting your keys, leaving your wallet behind, spending hundreds on a locksmith after locking yourself out of your Manhattan apartment, getting lice at summer camp, enduring an annoyed boss because you're a kid just out of an expensive college who has no real marketable skills. Credit where credit's due, Sloane Crosley is a decent writer and a decent humorist. She can turn a good phrase now and then, enough Occasionally humorous, but the humor of the spoiled of upper-middle-class woes such as forgetting your keys, leaving your wallet behind, spending hundreds on a locksmith after locking yourself out of your Manhattan apartment, getting lice at summer camp, enduring an annoyed boss because you're a kid just out of an expensive college who has no real marketable skills. Credit where credit's due, Sloane Crosley is a decent writer and a decent humorist. She can turn a good phrase now and then, enough to garner spot laughs through out. The problem is a lack of material worth writing about. A whole chapter on the old computer game The Oregon Trail seems excessive. This book feels like the author is just too young, lacks the meaningful life experiences needed to flesh out a book, and is stretching the hell out of what little has happened to her. Perhaps the book's title is the author's way of saying she's aware of this book's "let them eat cake" laissez faire attitude. And to be fair and honest, I did get some laughs out of Crosley's essays. I'm sure there is an audience for them. I'm clearly not it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    kira

    What can I say? I never intended to read this book. I probably never would have, had I not received it in a publicity mailing at work. The day it arrived, I was between books and just wanted something to read on the subway. So I did. And then I kept reading. I tend to not like to read books by "successful" people around my age. If the books suck, I'm angry for wasting my time. Worse, if they're actually good, I'm angry that this person, who might as well be me, actually had the motivation and ene What can I say? I never intended to read this book. I probably never would have, had I not received it in a publicity mailing at work. The day it arrived, I was between books and just wanted something to read on the subway. So I did. And then I kept reading. I tend to not like to read books by "successful" people around my age. If the books suck, I'm angry for wasting my time. Worse, if they're actually good, I'm angry that this person, who might as well be me, actually had the motivation and energy to write enough material for a book, get a book deal, and as a result be critically praised and read by thousands. The nerve! It completely invalidates my excuses of being too busy, too lazy, too scared, etc. Anyway, Crosley's writing is not the most elegant I've ever read, but it's far, far from the worst(see my review of Smashed by Koren Zailckas). In the end, all that really needs to be said is yes, this book had me laughing out loud several times. And yes, I finished it in two days. I wanted to hate this book and this author. But how can I hate someone who is so much like me? I am Sloane Crosley's ideal audience. We are about the same age and have similar backgrounds. I too moved to "the city" after college to work in book publishing. I get what she's saying. I empathize. There are SO MANY young women exactly like Sloan, and me, in NYC. (Don't believe me? Hang out in the lobby of a publishing company building for ten minutes or sign up for one volunteer project through any city organization.) I try not to think about it, because it makes me feel entirely unoriginal. It's almost enough to make me want to pack up my things and move to rural Montana. But really, what would that solve? I digress. The line that really sold me is at the very end of the very last essay. She writes, "I was just like everyone else I knew: almost positive that there was something profoundly and undiagnosably wrong with me." Maybe she just threw that in for dramatic effect, or maybe she really means it. Either way, I bought it. And that's ME too, as well as just about every single one of my friends. So, in conclusion, make me laugh, through in a few little nuggets of truth like the above, and I won't regret the time I spent reading your book. And really, that says a lot these days.

  6. 4 out of 5

    christa

    this book isn't bad, but it isn't good either. it just is. most of the essays are about as quirky as your mom after two glasses of wine, putting her hand over her mouth and gasping about the 'sh-' word. sloane crosley is scared she will suffer an untimely death and whoever cleans out her apartment will find her stash of toy ponies. ... this is not really the stuff of shocking hilarity. it's almost quaint in its lack of risk-taking. sloane crosley comes across as a sweet, self-depreciating, smart this book isn't bad, but it isn't good either. it just is. most of the essays are about as quirky as your mom after two glasses of wine, putting her hand over her mouth and gasping about the 'sh-' word. sloane crosley is scared she will suffer an untimely death and whoever cleans out her apartment will find her stash of toy ponies. ... this is not really the stuff of shocking hilarity. it's almost quaint in its lack of risk-taking. sloane crosley comes across as a sweet, self-depreciating, smart and witty -- but a far cry from david sedaris or sarah vowell, two writers her style was linked to in blurbs. [i should know better than to be fooled by blurbs. i know how they happen ... yet meghan daum's seal of approval did prompt me to buy this.] it is heavy handed in the PR direction: this is a woman who is not going to make enemies with this book of essays. and honestly, she comes across as very likeable. i'd read her blog. some essays are better: the story of her first job; how she is a sushi-loving vegetarian -- this one is filled with the sort of punny humor i enjoy. being a bridesmaid for a woman she no longer knows -- also a good story that falls flat in the end. i'm going to stop reading books shelved in the humor section and go back to memoirs. addiction memoirs, even.

  7. 5 out of 5

    A

    Sloane Crosley is similar to me and my friends in education, background, life experience, career trajectory, and the like. The big difference is she has a book deal, and we do not. As such, I tried to read this with an open mind and not hate her off the bat. Turned out that was all an unnecessary gesture on my part, as even someone completely remote from her experience would realize she is one of the most talentless hacks to come along in ages. This book was unbearable! These "essays" (more accu Sloane Crosley is similar to me and my friends in education, background, life experience, career trajectory, and the like. The big difference is she has a book deal, and we do not. As such, I tried to read this with an open mind and not hate her off the bat. Turned out that was all an unnecessary gesture on my part, as even someone completely remote from her experience would realize she is one of the most talentless hacks to come along in ages. This book was unbearable! These "essays" (more accurate definition: 8th-grade reading level diary entries) were not interesting, not insightful, and almost unbearably badly written. Every minute I wasted reading them (read: skimming page after page hoping for some word that was worth stopping on) made me want to throw up. Truly one of the worst debuts of the year--which is saying a lot considering this is the same year that has already seen the premiere of Keith Gessen's execrable first novel.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest We're all in the midst of our own existential dilemmas and hearing someone write quirky little diatribes about their Devil Wears Prada-esque boss or the friend who left poop on their carpet can sometimes make us feel as though we aren't alone. I WAS TOLD THERE'D BE CAKE isn't that different from the hundreds of other autobiographical essays out there, but Sloane Crosley does have a style that is all her own. Some of her analogies are crea Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest We're all in the midst of our own existential dilemmas and hearing someone write quirky little diatribes about their Devil Wears Prada-esque boss or the friend who left poop on their carpet can sometimes make us feel as though we aren't alone. I WAS TOLD THERE'D BE CAKE isn't that different from the hundreds of other autobiographical essays out there, but Sloane Crosley does have a style that is all her own. Some of her analogies are creative and on-point. Not rip-roaringly hilarious, mind, but clever and unusual and amusing. Sometimes she reminded me of me. Other times she reminded me of the me I wish I was. The me who says that clever punchline when it's needed, and not five minutes later, after I've already walked away. As pithy as Ms. Crosley is, the problem with collections like these is that there are always going to be some stories that just aren't as good as others, and bring down the collective quality of the book as a result. Apart from a few choice stories that really stood out to me, I found them blurring in my head almost as soon as I had read them, and it was difficult to suss out which story was which. That's really the keystone of this problem: she just isn't memorable. Her stories lack that extra panache that makes them stand out. Jenny Lawson, with her funny sadness, sad funnyness, and taxidermied raccoons, is what Sloane Crosley dreams of being, but she just isn't quite there yet. Soon, perhaps. But not now. Honestly, though? If you're looking for a light, fun read written by a snarky and intelligent lady, I would recommend I WAS TOLD THERE'D BE CAKE. It accompanied me to work and various other appointments, and since the essays are only a few pages long, it made it easy to read them in quick, short bursts without having to stop in the middle of a segment (I hate that!). 3 stars.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Felicity

    This book is so awful, so awful I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Maybe I just missed the punch lines (I think these essays were meant to be humorous), but my overwhelming response to these essays was "So what?" Apparently, they are based upon Ms. Crosley's life--I hate to break it to her, but I just don't think her life has been that interesting. The final affront was an apparent joke in her less-than-humorous essay about a possible move to Australia (thank goodness for us Australians she n This book is so awful, so awful I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Maybe I just missed the punch lines (I think these essays were meant to be humorous), but my overwhelming response to these essays was "So what?" Apparently, they are based upon Ms. Crosley's life--I hate to break it to her, but I just don't think her life has been that interesting. The final affront was an apparent joke in her less-than-humorous essay about a possible move to Australia (thank goodness for us Australians she never made it there)...after the teenage Ms. Crosley's plans for moving to Australia are dashed, she observes that "My Australian dreams had disappeared into the night like a baby in a dingo's jaw (72)." I'm sorry. She can make offensive comments about Australians all she likes--we probably deserve it. But offensive comments about Lindy Chamberlain and her daughter Azaria is another thing--hasn't Lindy Chamberlain already suffered enough? Just give it a rest people. Give the woman the peace she deserves. Wasn't it enough that the Australian media, the Australian public, and the so-called justice system destroyed her life? No, apparently some dim-witted twenty-something year-old in New York City still thinks it's funny to make jokes about the case.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    The blurb on the cover compares her to David Sedaris. The blurb on the back compares her to Dorothy Parker. These people are out of their fucking minds. Sloane Crosley has a lot of interesting anecdotes in her arsenal, but she doesn't know how to tell them without boring the shit out of you. The blurb on the cover compares her to David Sedaris. The blurb on the back compares her to Dorothy Parker. These people are out of their fucking minds. Sloane Crosley has a lot of interesting anecdotes in her arsenal, but she doesn't know how to tell them without boring the shit out of you.

  11. 5 out of 5

    R.

    I found that each essay had, hovering in the background, an exquisite sadness. An aching. To belong, to have belonged. A desire to not fuck up despite a penchant for fucking up. This book may be, on the surface, a collection of humorous essays; but a ghost, called Lost Opportunities, hovers beneath that glassy surface, knocking. Longing to breathe. Longing to breathe the air of a wider, gentler world and to drop the burden of the "Lost". To be found. I found that each essay had, hovering in the background, an exquisite sadness. An aching. To belong, to have belonged. A desire to not fuck up despite a penchant for fucking up. This book may be, on the surface, a collection of humorous essays; but a ghost, called Lost Opportunities, hovers beneath that glassy surface, knocking. Longing to breathe. Longing to breathe the air of a wider, gentler world and to drop the burden of the "Lost". To be found.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I was embarrassed to have been reduced to the level of a child, embarrassed to have given her a homemade gift, embarrassed by how suddenly and indisputably unprofessional it seemed to give one’s boss a cookie in the shape of her disembodied head. Crosley is a smart and witty writer. Like many gatherings of essays the content is somewhat uneven in quality and (for me anyway) it’s rare to like them all, so I think the amount of good ones were well worth the read. Side note: I like that in her blurb I was embarrassed to have been reduced to the level of a child, embarrassed to have given her a homemade gift, embarrassed by how suddenly and indisputably unprofessional it seemed to give one’s boss a cookie in the shape of her disembodied head. Crosley is a smart and witty writer. Like many gatherings of essays the content is somewhat uneven in quality and (for me anyway) it’s rare to like them all, so I think the amount of good ones were well worth the read. Side note: I like that in her blurb she has “wrote the cover story for the worst-selling issue of Maxim in that magazine’s history.” Because taking yourself too seriously is boring.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    It's hard not to blame David Sedaris for Sloane Crosley. I mean to use "blame" lightly - I don't think Sloane Crosley is a thing anyone should necessary be sorry for, but by popularizing the whole "my family is weird in a way that is eccentric but essentially without serious conflict" genre of self-data mining, he's opened the door for people like Crosley to tell very similar stories about their OWN harmless strangeness. I suppose this is essentially livejournal lit - as a blog, Crosley would be It's hard not to blame David Sedaris for Sloane Crosley. I mean to use "blame" lightly - I don't think Sloane Crosley is a thing anyone should necessary be sorry for, but by popularizing the whole "my family is weird in a way that is eccentric but essentially without serious conflict" genre of self-data mining, he's opened the door for people like Crosley to tell very similar stories about their OWN harmless strangeness. I suppose this is essentially livejournal lit - as a blog, Crosley would be pretty great. She's funny, occasionally hits the lucky longball, and doesn't take herself so seriously that the whole affair starts to feel (more than occasionally) like a bloodless exercise in self-promotion or a neurotic call for attention. As a book getting national attention, it's much harder to parse why out of all the perfectly viable memoirs on mild neurosis floating around in cyberspace, this would be the one to be chosen for national attention. Easy to read, funny in patches, not at all special.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Candi

    I gave this book a snarky review a few years ago that several GoodReads readers liked, but since reading the whole book (and maturing maybe just a tiny bit), I feel much more generous toward Crosley and her brand of innocently naughty humor.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    I was eager for a helping of Crosley's Cake after quickly burning through her very latest essay collection - Look Alive Out There, released in spring 2018 - earlier in the week while away on a brief vacation. I also really enjoyed the pleasant and similarly-styled Cake, which chronologically is her first book from back in 2008. Crosley again discusses various and unrelated topics - summer camp experiences, her first job after college, being a member of a wedding party, a health concern - with sp I was eager for a helping of Crosley's Cake after quickly burning through her very latest essay collection - Look Alive Out There, released in spring 2018 - earlier in the week while away on a brief vacation. I also really enjoyed the pleasant and similarly-styled Cake, which chronologically is her first book from back in 2008. Crosley again discusses various and unrelated topics - summer camp experiences, her first job after college, being a member of a wedding party, a health concern - with spot-on humor and occasional insight in fifteen distinct compositions. Seconds, please. (ha-ha)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Sloane Crosley might make an interesting blogger and you'd read her stuff every once in a while when you're super bored at work but essay after essay in a book was too much. None of the stories were particularly funny or interesting. Reading the book was very much like meeting someone that all of your friends like and you've heard about this person non-stop and then you meet them and they're not particularly funny or interesting. At first you try to like them as much as everyoen else does but th Sloane Crosley might make an interesting blogger and you'd read her stuff every once in a while when you're super bored at work but essay after essay in a book was too much. None of the stories were particularly funny or interesting. Reading the book was very much like meeting someone that all of your friends like and you've heard about this person non-stop and then you meet them and they're not particularly funny or interesting. At first you try to like them as much as everyoen else does but then you just say "Sorry, I don't see what everyone else sees." Some of the early essays are mildly amusing in that bloggy sort of way but I really lost patience for her with the wedding story. I don't have much sympathy for someone who agrees to be in a wedding and then trashes the bride the whole time. No one held a gun to your head. If everything is true, I feel really badly for her friend who had to read that and know that it was all written about her. So by the time I got to the "turd on my floor" essay and had to read her endless thoughts about "Who on earth pooped on my floor?" I wanted to call her up and say "Dear, at this point in the book, I'm kind of wondering how you've made it that many years without numerous people pooping on your floor." She's no Sedaris.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    One hot mess. White people problems. This is a very uneven collection essays crammed with disjointed bits and bobs that attempt to be cute and ironic, but come off as braggadocious and not at all funny. It's really too bad, because I enjoyed Sloane Crosley's The Clasp. One hot mess. White people problems. This is a very uneven collection essays crammed with disjointed bits and bobs that attempt to be cute and ironic, but come off as braggadocious and not at all funny. It's really too bad, because I enjoyed Sloane Crosley's The Clasp.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jason Brown (Toastx2)

    “I was told there’d be cake” Sloane Crosley.. we had such high hopes for you. reading your pony story in radar, it seemed that reading your book was an awesome idea. if something makes you smile that much and it is only a single chapter from a book.. the rest MUST be excellent… right? no. couldn’t have been more wrong. when this book was first purchased, i was very pleased to read the pony story again. i imagined with horror the looks your family would give, when stumbling across your plastic pony c “I was told there’d be cake” Sloane Crosley.. we had such high hopes for you. reading your pony story in radar, it seemed that reading your book was an awesome idea. if something makes you smile that much and it is only a single chapter from a book.. the rest MUST be excellent… right? no. couldn’t have been more wrong. when this book was first purchased, i was very pleased to read the pony story again. i imagined with horror the looks your family would give, when stumbling across your plastic pony corral in the kitchen drawer. chapter 2 and three were some of the most unappealing collections of vowels and consonants i have read in ages. frankly, your book bored me so much, that after three chapters, i put it down and decided to forget about it, altogether. something like a year has gone past. i felt a bit bad for you. on a sad and pathetic whim, i said “give sloane another chance.. she did make you laugh once.. perhaps she could do it again” i have been wrong in the past. i have read part of a book, been bored, picked it back up and had a better experience with a different mind set. this was not the case with “i was told there’d be cake”. every single chapter was filled with bland anecdotes and sprawling in-effective prose. each story waddles back and forth like a drunken semi-retarded penguin, straying from topic to topic in a shoot from the hip manner.. but with a drunken semi-retarded penguin instead of a cowboy.. heh.. waddle… you are left staring at the pages wishing you had SOMETHING else to do. it took me two weeks to drag my ass through this book, opting to talk to strangers on public transit in an effort to distract myself.. this book is “too shy” by kajagoogoo.. the first chapter is sloane’s one hit wonder. everything else in between front and back cover is nothing but filler hoping beyond hope to become a cult hit or the elusive and desired “deep cut”.. in my view, you failed. what you did well? you market things.. you book was pushed in a phenomenal manner. marketing is definitely your thing.. i have heard so many people talking about their interest in your collection of essays. unfortunately, none of them had read it before spouting off about it. the thing i regret the most is the awful feeling i get when people i know are found with this in their hands and the disappointed look in their eyes. leave the writing to the monkeys who are recreating Shakespeare on typewriters -- xpost https://toastx2.blogspot.com/

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    Essays for Twenty-Somethings Always on the lookout for a new, fresh voice, and one touted as a "mercurial wit" on a par with David Sedaris and Dorothy Parker, had to be good, right? Well . . . I'm sorry to report these front and back cover comparisons are just good copywriting. I'm not saying this author isn't talented. She is. She's funny, smart, quirky, writes well, and has a few 20-something stories to relate to, perhaps, essay-readers of her generation and fellow Manhattan-ites who may never Essays for Twenty-Somethings Always on the lookout for a new, fresh voice, and one touted as a "mercurial wit" on a par with David Sedaris and Dorothy Parker, had to be good, right? Well . . . I'm sorry to report these front and back cover comparisons are just good copywriting. I'm not saying this author isn't talented. She is. She's funny, smart, quirky, writes well, and has a few 20-something stories to relate to, perhaps, essay-readers of her generation and fellow Manhattan-ites who may never tire of telling or hearing the same stories again and again and again. (Boss from hell, moving, etc.) I'm afraid there's nothing new here--a few chuckles and clever witticisms, but mostly I found this to be a monotonous collection of tales from a young woman shaking off the selfishness of youth and coming of age. Of varying length and format, these essays aren't polished and there are attempts to give a last-line/full-circle zinger in several cases; however, for me they didn't work. Further, I knew there was a generation gap when she started waxing nostalgic about video games in the excerpt entitled "Bring Your Machete To Work Day." And I didn't quite know how to take the proclamation: [I] "find people who publicly strive to make the world a better place to be moderately annoying." I feel I should have been more on board with her sense of humor by 117 pages into the book where this appears. Nevertheless, I can't blame the author for these particular criticisms--which means this book had more of an audience problem for me, rather than a talent problem. I'd love to read more of Crosley's work, say in another decade or two. My guess is that she's going to get better and better. Bottom line: Good writing, mildly humorous, nothing new for baby-boomers, but probably great for Gen X'ers and those who follow . . . what are they called? No doubt, Crosley knows.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tim Lepczyk

    Sloane Crosley isn't the reason I dislike most creative nonfiction, but she writes from the same sense of smallness that leaves me as a reader thinking, so what? So, you collect plastic ponies, so you've lost your wallet and had it returned a bunch of times, so you were a maid of honor and a jerk to your friend, so you almost were sick but just ate too much spinach instead, who cares? What bothers me about creative nonfiction/the personal narrative which we are teaching college freshmen across th Sloane Crosley isn't the reason I dislike most creative nonfiction, but she writes from the same sense of smallness that leaves me as a reader thinking, so what? So, you collect plastic ponies, so you've lost your wallet and had it returned a bunch of times, so you were a maid of honor and a jerk to your friend, so you almost were sick but just ate too much spinach instead, who cares? What bothers me about creative nonfiction/the personal narrative which we are teaching college freshmen across the country is how generic it is, how it has become distilled into some meaningless cross between a Seinfeld observation and a blog post. Look at me, this is ironic and obscure, did you ever notice. On the other hand, I've read essays from this book because I don't want to think. It's like when you catch yourself watching bad TV. Throw in Ross and Rachael and you've got yourself an episode of Friends. This book is great for teens and those who are just in their 20's and have no world-view beyond them self, their suburb and their friends.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Oriana

    Oh man, this book was so much fun. These essays are light without being inconsequential, funny without trying too hard, snarky without being cruel (mostly), and smart without being pedantic. Great, great little rants on the hell of being a bridesmaid, the shame of locking yourself out of your apartment (in your pajamas! before you've even had a cup of coffee!), the dirty secrets we keep in our apartments (first line of the first essay: "As most New Yorkers have done, I have given serious thought Oh man, this book was so much fun. These essays are light without being inconsequential, funny without trying too hard, snarky without being cruel (mostly), and smart without being pedantic. Great, great little rants on the hell of being a bridesmaid, the shame of locking yourself out of your apartment (in your pajamas! before you've even had a cup of coffee!), the dirty secrets we keep in our apartments (first line of the first essay: "As most New Yorkers have done, I have given serious thought to the state of my apartment should I get killed during the day"), the horrors of being a personal assistant, the mind-numbingness of suburbia, and the worlds scariest insect (the Atlas Moth). She talks about friends drifting apart, volunteering at the Museum of Natural History, Channukah bushes, whether eating sushi is really cheating on your vegetarianism, and what to do when someone takes a shit on your floor. Did I mention these essays are deliciously fun? They are! I know I like this especially because Sloane is, more or less, just like me. Her friends are just like my friends, her sense of humor is just like mine, her upbringing and career aspirations and ways of amusing herself -- mine, mine, mine. I have no idea if this would be fun for someone with totally different life experiences. But who cares? This is my review of my experience, and it was terrif. The other thing I discovered while reading this (rediscovered, honestly, as I do every time I read essays) is that I am soooo much easier on essays than I am on short stories. Why is that? I'm not really sure. I mean, when I read short stories, they just always make me mad, for being too short, too flittery, not developed enough, and ultimately an unsatisfying waste of time. Essays though? Not at all! Even the shortest ones, even the most flippantly anecdotal (if they're well done, obvs), are enough for me. I feel like I should be drawing some kind of conclusion from this, but nah. I just really like essays, and I really like Sloane, and I really liked this book. Yay!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This was our May 2008 book club read...can't say I was thrilled with it. The point was often missing from many of the essays, and while I laughed and happily flipped through the pages, the content seemed better suited for a blog than a book. Crosley has a good voice, but I just didn't see the magic that other essayists - like the ubiquitous but amazing David Sedaris - bring to their books. You won't be bored reading this, but it's more like you're listening to your friend tell you some funny thi This was our May 2008 book club read...can't say I was thrilled with it. The point was often missing from many of the essays, and while I laughed and happily flipped through the pages, the content seemed better suited for a blog than a book. Crosley has a good voice, but I just didn't see the magic that other essayists - like the ubiquitous but amazing David Sedaris - bring to their books. You won't be bored reading this, but it's more like you're listening to your friend tell you some funny thing that happened to a friend of hers than you're reading a published collection of essays... I could write a book like this. If you're the sort of person who likes easy breezy books for the beach, and you have this on hand as you're venturing out for a weekend in the Hamptons, you won't be disappointed with this one...or maybe if you're on a plane and just want something to pass the time...but in terms of a legitimate "good read," you should go back to Amazon and order something else. Get Me Talk Pretty One Day by Sedaris instead if you want a book of sharp, hysterical essays that are more than just storytelling.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cyndi

    A series of essays that are sometimes entertaining. Some are funny, some...not so much. But, it's short, so... A series of essays that are sometimes entertaining. Some are funny, some...not so much. But, it's short, so...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I was attracted by the title, since the presence of cake is a major motivational force in my life. Unfortunately, the book didn’t come with cake, and it was poorer for it. While I admired some of the sharp prose, I felt that I was reading a weird cross of The Devil Wears Prada (and all the other young-woman-just-out-of-college-finding-her-way-in-NYC novels) and David Sedaris: memoir-type essays written by a woman in her late 20’s in NYC who works menial jobs in publishing. She covers the indigni I was attracted by the title, since the presence of cake is a major motivational force in my life. Unfortunately, the book didn’t come with cake, and it was poorer for it. While I admired some of the sharp prose, I felt that I was reading a weird cross of The Devil Wears Prada (and all the other young-woman-just-out-of-college-finding-her-way-in-NYC novels) and David Sedaris: memoir-type essays written by a woman in her late 20’s in NYC who works menial jobs in publishing. She covers the indignities of a being an entry-level publishing drone with the boss from hell, the trauma of being a bridesmaid, the myriad problems of living in NYC, plus some kooky family stories. She comes across as unpleasantly self-involved, uninterested in maintaining friendships and only occasionally (and reluctantly) doing something altruistic. Although she gives an entertaining spin to her selfishness, this is not someone I’d want to spend time with in real life, and so I felt increasingly distanced as I went through the essays.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Camille

    Funny. Funny. Funny.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

    The nice thing about a collection of essays is that you can read one, put the book down, and come back to it later, and not really have to remember what you read before. Even if I hadn't been stuck on a plane for 6 hours, I probably would have read most of Sloan Crosley's essays in one sitting. They're funny and a little sad, and easy to relate to. I couldn't put the book down, and frankly, I didn't want to. Thanks Sloan Crosley, for making my six hour flight to Boston (in the middle seat, no le The nice thing about a collection of essays is that you can read one, put the book down, and come back to it later, and not really have to remember what you read before. Even if I hadn't been stuck on a plane for 6 hours, I probably would have read most of Sloan Crosley's essays in one sitting. They're funny and a little sad, and easy to relate to. I couldn't put the book down, and frankly, I didn't want to. Thanks Sloan Crosley, for making my six hour flight to Boston (in the middle seat, no less) that much more enjoyable.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sharon :)

    Thanks to all my Goodreads friends who had this book in their feed . ✔️ short stories in my 2019 reading challenge. This book was so funny the author is a trip. My favorite type of audiobook love when the author narrates. Quick and fun book!!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    It's true that to enjoy "I Was Told There'd Be Cake," you have to be in Sloane Crosley's target audience, and it's true that her target audience is a fairly small group. Sloane writes for people just like herself... young professionals with a suburbanite upbringing, trying to make it in [insert industry here] in [insert big city here]. Sloane is a young publishing professional trying to make it in New York City. Replace "publishing professional" with "lawyer" and replace "New York City" with "Wash It's true that to enjoy "I Was Told There'd Be Cake," you have to be in Sloane Crosley's target audience, and it's true that her target audience is a fairly small group. Sloane writes for people just like herself... young professionals with a suburbanite upbringing, trying to make it in [insert industry here] in [insert big city here]. Sloane is a young publishing professional trying to make it in New York City. Replace "publishing professional" with "lawyer" and replace "New York City" with "Washington, DC" and you've got me. I know Sloane Crosley's experiences because I basically lived them. The freakishly compelling summer camp with platform tents, decorated dining halls and promise-to-be-friends-forever-then-forget-about-you-on-September-1st camp friends? Check. Suburban middle school dances in clashing patterns? Check. A My Little Pony collection? Sadly, check, although fortunately I didn't move mine with me to DC and they don't all represent failed relationships. Oh, and Oregon Trail? Check. Oh, my goodness, check. So, yes, I found Sloane to be absolutely hysterical. Mainly because I basically AM Sloane. "You On A Stick," her diatribe about being maid of honor in the wedding of her best friend from seventh grade, who she'd barely spoken to in a decade... well, I haven't directly had that experience, but I know others who have, so that one rang very true, and it was hi-larious. "Please. Le chapeau you have to make me, please." "Christmas in July," her story about her bizarre summer camp... I loved it because I went to a camp just like it. Mine was even steeped in Native American lore, too. Unique? Nope, it was the nineties. "The Ursula Cookie" was sidesplitting in its march toward office humiliation and doom. "The Pony Problem" made me laugh so hard that I had to interrupt my husband's football watching to read him the end. And my absolute favorite of Sloane's witty creations - "Bring-Your-Machete-To-Work-Day," about the wonderful, brilliant Oregon Trail game. If you haven't played Oregon Trail, you won't get it. If you have, you'll read this story as I did: with tears streaming down your face. I tried to force my poor hubby to listen to me read this one on an Amtrak train. Unfortunately, I couldn't choke out the words to the story because I was laughing too hard. And then my glasses fogged up from laughing until I cried, and I had to put the book away. My hubs laughed, but more from seeing me so tickled than from the actual story. And that's the real point of this review. If you're Sloane, or me, or one of the countless other young twentysomething women who were raised in the suburbs and now live, work, and try to find the humor in a major urban center, you'll get the ultimate kick out of these essays. If you're not a member of that fairly large but admittedly narrow demographic... stick to Sedaris.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    I had really high hopes for this book. I listened to it, read by the author, after reading the summary of her newest book, How Did You Get This Number?, which sounded quirky, amusing and fun. I figured I'd start at the beginning and work my way through her essays. The author is the same age as my youngest sister, with whom I do not gel. Maybe it's the generation gap; I trail the end of mine and she begins hers. Perhaps that's what causes the friction between our ambitions, ethics and general sens I had really high hopes for this book. I listened to it, read by the author, after reading the summary of her newest book, How Did You Get This Number?, which sounded quirky, amusing and fun. I figured I'd start at the beginning and work my way through her essays. The author is the same age as my youngest sister, with whom I do not gel. Maybe it's the generation gap; I trail the end of mine and she begins hers. Perhaps that's what causes the friction between our ambitions, ethics and general senses of purpose. I found I had some of the same exasperations with Ms. Crosley as I feel toward my sister. I love clever, witty women and I love reading or hearing what they have to say. Perhaps my expectations were too high to begin with, but I didn't find Ms. Crosley to be all that funny, insightful, or quick-witted. She actually came across as whiny, entitled and seriously lacking in real-life experience. It was like she was sharing her thoughts on her environment and experiences without actually understanding her environment or having her experiences. I felt she was trying to reap the benefit of her intellect without having put effort into said intellect first. Part of the problem, I think, was that I just couldn't relate to many of her situations or feelings so I couldn't see the poignancy or humor in her views. I think I just wound up thinking of her as a brat and that got in my way. I might still try her second book, but I think I'll wait a year, or two, and maybe try to nurture my patience in the meantime.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    The jacket of this book simultaneously sold and ruined the book for me. I bought it based on the blurb on the cover (from Jonathan Lethem no less!) comparing her to David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell, and the back where another author calls her the twenty-first century Dorothy Parker. I was intrigued. The power of the blurb: I probably wouldn't have even picked up the book in the store without them, but those are some pretty big shoes to fill, and I think my expectations were a little high. I enjoye The jacket of this book simultaneously sold and ruined the book for me. I bought it based on the blurb on the cover (from Jonathan Lethem no less!) comparing her to David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell, and the back where another author calls her the twenty-first century Dorothy Parker. I was intrigued. The power of the blurb: I probably wouldn't have even picked up the book in the store without them, but those are some pretty big shoes to fill, and I think my expectations were a little high. I enjoyed the book a lot. I had a hard time putting it down. I looked forward to reading it. I'll probably pick up anything else she writes. Sometimes her writing was a little bit cute, a little bit cliche. The blurbs on the cover praise her for her "telling the truth, helplessly," but sometimes that "truth" just comes across as mean and manufactured for the story. So some of the essays I wasn't so into. I did find that I related to her a lot. She has whole essays about being a vegetarian and bearing the brunt of jokes and obnoxious questions, growing up with a boy's name of dubious cultural origin, being very wary of weddings, and having a rare blood disease. She grew up in the suburbs and moved to New York after college. She's also the exact same age as me. And she's written a book, and I haven't, so maybe I should just shut up.

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