November 12, 2008

I normally like cake, too.

I picked up I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley because she was likened to "Dorothy Parker crossed with Kingsley Amis" (Elle magazine) which sounded pretty awesome, and also to Sarah Vowell, who I adore. Reviews call it "hilarious" and "uproariously unpredictable"... "[T]he book will feel like brunch with your friends, but funnier." (Shape magazine) Also, the rights to the book were sold to HBO for series development. Wow! I like HBO. I like all these things. So I bought it and was looking forward to it.

Sloane Crosley’s writing reminded me not one bit of David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, or Dorothy Parker, except in that she writes essays and is sort of cynical. This book was in no sense of the word "hilarious," and I can’t see the need for a TV series based on these essays. (A series about the foibles of a single 20-something girl in NYC? Crazy!)

I do feel bad for sounding so negative. It wasn’t horrible. She is a good writer. A couple of the essays were entertaining, but honestly? They were just sort of entertaining. For example, her essay about this bad day she had while moving apartments in NYC? I mean, yeah, it sounded like a pretty bad day, but not that bad. She locked herself out of her apartment(s) twice during her move, which does suck for her, but it’s not that interesting to read about it. It would have been a decent story to tell friends over drinks that night - not a story you type up and send to a book publisher.

Obviously I’m wrong about that, because this book has sold millions and garnered great reviews from authors I like. People love this book.

But please. One random blogger said she "almost peed her pants" laughing while reading this line from one of the stories: "It is my belief that people who speak of high school with a sugary fondness are bluffing away early-onset Alzheimer’s." Ha?

I guess I just didn’t get it, which surprised me, because I totally bought into the hype, and on paper, I was the perfect target market. Apparently not. I didn’t even finish it.

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