How Did You Get This Number

How Did You Get This Number

3.3 53
by Sloane Crosley
     
 

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From the author of the sensational bestseller I Was Told There'd Be Cake comes a new book of personal essays brimming with all the charm and wit that have earned Sloane Crosley widespread acclaim, award nominations, and an ever-growing cadre of loyal fans. In Cake readers were introduced to the foibles of Crosley's life in New York City-always teetering

Overview

From the author of the sensational bestseller I Was Told There'd Be Cake comes a new book of personal essays brimming with all the charm and wit that have earned Sloane Crosley widespread acclaim, award nominations, and an ever-growing cadre of loyal fans. In Cake readers were introduced to the foibles of Crosley's life in New York City-always teetering between the glamour of Manhattan parties, the indignity of entry-level work, and the special joy of suburban nostalgia-and to a literary voice that mixed Dorothy Parker with David Sedaris and became something all its own.

Crosley still lives and works in New York City, but she's no longer the newcomer for whom a trip beyond the Upper West Side is a big adventure. She can pack up her sensibility and takes us with her to Paris, to Portugal (having picked it by spinning a globe and putting down her finger, and finally falling in with a group of Portuguese clowns), and even to Alaska, where the "bear bells" on her fellow bridesmaids' ponytails seemed silly until a grizzly cub dramatically intrudes. Meanwhile, back in New York, where new apartments beckon and taxi rides go awry, her sense of the city has become more layered, her relationships with friends and family more complicated.

As always, Crosley's voice is fueled by the perfect witticism, buoyant optimism, flair for drama, and easy charm in the face of minor suffering or potential drudgery. But in How Did You Get This Number it has also become increasingly sophisticated, quicker and sharper to the point, more complex and lasting in the emotions it explores. And yet, Crosley remains the unfailingly hilarious young Everywoman, healthily equipped with intelligence and poise to fend off any potential mundanity in maturity.

Editorial Reviews

Maria Russo
[Crosley] mostly succeeds in How Did You Get This Number, her second collection of essays about making it, zanily, in the big city. Crosley is like a tap-dancer, lighthearted and showman­like, occasionally trite, but capable of surprising you with the reserves of emotion and keen social observation that motivate the performance.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Nine thoughtful, unfussy essays by the author of the collection I Was Told There'd Be Cake navigate around illusions of youth in the hope that by young adulthood they'll “all add up to happiness.” The account of Crosley's footloose adventure to Lisbon on the eve of her 30th birthday starts things off in rollicking fashion in “Show Me on the Doll”: without proficient language skills, getting hopelessly lost in the labyrinth of Bairro Alto, and panicking in front of the myriad QVC channels offered by her hotel, Crosley recognizes that Lisbon “was a place with a painfully disproportionate self-reflection-to-experience ratio.” There is the requisite essay about moving to New York and replacing her anorexic-kleptomaniac roommate with a more acceptable living arrangement: in Crosley's case, delineated in “Take a Stab at It,” she is interviewed by the creepily disembodied current occupier of a famous former brothel on the Bowery, McGurk's Suicide Hall. As well, Crosley delivers witty, syncopated takes on visiting Alaska and Paris, and finding much consolation from a two-timing heartbreak in New York by buying stolen items from her “upholstery guy,” Daryl, who found them fallen “Off the Back of a Truck,” as the delightful last selection is titled. These essays are fresh, funny, and eager to be loved. (June)
From the Publisher
"Wonderful and entertaining." — USA Today

"Undeniably funny... Crosley's work speaks volumes to her generation." — San Francisco Chronicle

"Charming... Crosley has an original spark... [She] is like a tap dancer, lighthearted and showmanlike... capable of surprising you with the reserves of emotion and keen social observation that motivate the performance." — The New York Times Book Review

"Crosley writes with such buoyancy. But [she]... shows a depth that's every bit as enjoyable as the full-on belly laughs." — Entertainment Weekly

Library Journal
Sometimes you read a book that rings so true to your own life that you can hardly put it down. This is the case with Crosley's second collection, after her best-selling I Was Told There'd Be Cake. With wit, humor, and a sophistication that more experienced authors would envy, this compilation focuses on Crosley's late twenties. As Crosley writes about an impromptu trip to Lisbon that may (or may not) have been a freak-out response to turning 30 and explores the various trappings of being a grown-up—relationships, apartments of one's own, and well-upholstered furniture that just happened to fall off the back of a truck—readers will recognize their own life experiences, with Crosley's insights and excellent storytelling skills to guide them. VERDICT Reading like the diary entries of a thirtysomething, Crosley's essays are brutally honest about her flaws as well as the flaws of others and, as a result, paint a realistic and hilarious portrait of what it's like to be an adult in today's world. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/10.]—Deborah Hicks, Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton
Kirkus Reviews
A worthy successor to Crosley's well-received debut, I Was Told There'd Be Cake (2008). Where her first collection focused on a young professional's life in Manhattan, this follow-up finds the author-whose day job as a book publicist is rarely mentioned-taking her show on the road. She gets lost in Lisbon (actually, she gets lost pretty much everywhere), threatened by a bear in Alaska and all but deported from France-or at least discouraged from ever again visiting Notre Dame. Most of the book is funny, some of it even laugh-out-loud, but her literary gifts go well beyond easy laughs. The humor flows naturally and subtly from characters and situations, as if these were real-life short stories. "An Abbreviated Catalog of Tongues," which initially seems to be a perfunctory pet essay, yet turns revelatory in a number of directions, addressing everything from sibling relationships to her parents' religion. "[M]y parents are not big believers in God," she writes. "Or, rather, they believe in him partially. Which is tricky. It's like being kind of pregnant or only mostly dead. You're either in or you're out." Perhaps the finest essay is the final one, "Off the Back of a Truck," a clever, challenging piece from which the book takes its title. Initially about wanting what you can't afford, it transforms into an exploration of receiving what you want that you can't afford, through means that you're only partially willing to admit are pretty shady. Ultimately, though, it becomes a meditation on a romance that forces Crosley to come to terms with a truth she'd suspected and the lie she was living. It's the least humorous of the collection, but the most unflinchingly true. Confirmation of the promise shown in the author's bestselling debut.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101188286
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/15/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
94,781
File size:
247 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

David Sedaris
How sure footed and observant Sloane Crosley is. How perfectly, relentlessly funny. If you needed a bib while reading I Was Told There'd Be Cake, you might consider diapers for How Did You Get This Number.
From the Publisher
"Wonderful and entertaining." — USA Today

"Undeniably funny... Crosley's work speaks volumes to her generation." — San Francisco Chronicle

"Charming... Crosley has an original spark... [She] is like a tap dancer, lighthearted and showmanlike... capable of surprising you with the reserves of emotion and keen social observation that motivate the performance." — The New York Times Book Review

"Crosley writes with such buoyancy. But [she]... shows a depth that's every bit as enjoyable as the full-on belly laughs." — Entertainment Weekly

Meet the Author

Sloane Crosley’s essays and criticism have appeared in The New York Times, New York Observer, the Village Voice, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Salon, Black Book, Radar, Maxim, and The Believer. She is also the Associate Director of Publicity at Vintage/Anchor Books in New York.

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How Did You Get This Number 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed 'I was told there'd be cake' and had some high hopes for Crosley's second book, but it seemed like she was trying too hard. Gone were the funny and interesting stories that you wanted to read, replaced instead with ones that had you waiting to the end to catch that humor, but ending on a flat note that makes you think, 'Why did I just read this?' I finished Cake in a matter of days, this one I had to force myself to keep reading. Personally, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked I Was Told There Would Be Cake. This book doesn't compare. The chapters are long and rambling. I found myself skipping ahead and asking myself, "when is she going to make a point?" Not entertaining at all. A real disappointment.
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