Every now and then I come across a book that I completely and totally fall in love with. Such is the case in this week’s collection of essays, “I Was Told There’d be Cake,” by Sloane Crosley. In a league with storytellers like David Sedaris, Crosley takes everyday situations and shows us how life can be rather.well, hysterical.
I knew I would be physically unable to put the book down as soon as I read the first essay of the book “The Pony Problem,” in which Crosley tells the reader, very honestly, her inability to cease referencing ponies in daily conversation. True to her statement she has collected a number of plastic ponies from various boyfriends, which she secretly hides in the depths of a kitchen drawer.
Crosley is a twenty-something “lax-Jew,” living in New York City. Amidst her success in the publishing world, she has somehow had time to record these awkward little slices of heaven for us readers. We really should thank her.
Moving away from “The Pony Problem,” the collection just keeps on keepin’ on, concocting more and more unforgettable life snapshots. I actually had a difficult time reading this book in public. Unable to control my obnoxious laughter, I found that examining Crosley’s life was best kept to the confines of my own home. But isn’t that what we all want out of our reading material, to effect us in some way? Well, you can eat as much of this cake as you like, and probably tone your abdomen as a result of all the strenuous laughter.
I think perhaps one of my favorite stories (they’re all my favorites, though) would have to be observing Crosley struggle through life at her first publishing job in “The Ursula Cookie.” Granted with the boss from hell, she finds herself desperately trying to win points while continuing to come up short. Of all of her attempts to redeem herself, there is none so amusing as her idea for the “Ursula cookie,” which Crosley says, “came down from the heavens like the speckled spotlights in Ghost.” Needless to say, creating a Frisbee-sized cookie reminiscent of your boss’s face is not the best way to say “Merry Christmas.” But, luckily for us, we get to watch Crosley learn the hard way.
Crosley struggles through life with every good-hearted decision seemingly meandering its way to the land of disaster. This girl can’t even invite friends over for dessert without one of them leaving a “cherry-sized turd,” on her bathroom floor. Or how about the time she locks herself out of her apartment twice in one day? Priceless.
There is no doubt that Crosley has endured some pretty awful situations, but haven’t we all? This book is real-life looked at through a microscope labeled “cynical and sarcastic.” Lets take a moment now to appreciate the fact that Crosley was forced to be part of a wedding party for a couple who changed their last name to “Universe.” I mean, really? This stuff is gold.
The essays are uncensored, bizarre, and frank. With some works labeled as nonfiction, it is easy to wonder if the author has not stretched the truth here and there. But rest assured, these stories are brimming with honesty whether they should be or not.
I think that all of us, male or female, can relate to Crosley. At different times, she will dig up your old obsession with, “The Oregon Trail,” and bring you right back to summer camp as an awkward adolescent. Who wouldn’t enjoy a trip down memory lane, or as Crosley puts it, “masochistic nostalgia highway.”
I guess what I’m trying to say is “Read This.” Crosley is talented, wise, quirky and as I’m sure I have already implied, laugh out loud funny. So put that textbook down and have a big slice of circumstance. You know you want to.
Next week’s book is Chuck Klosterman’s newest release, “Downtown Owl.” Happy reading!