I Was Told There'd Be Cake

I Was Told There'd Be Cake

3.8 102
by Sloane Crosley
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

Sloane Crosley is also the author of How Did You Get This Number.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Crosley's dry, ironic narration is the perfect match for her collection of essays about her struggles and misadventures as a 20-something gal in New York. Her reading brings a personal touch to her reminiscences. She never hams it up or overdoes it, telling her stories in an understated but arch tone (the aural equivalent of a raised eyebrow), and her timing and delivery are unerringly on-target, making humorous lines even funnier. She's especially effective in her self-deprecating moments, as when ruefully recounting the time she managed to lock herself out of her apartment twice in one day-one can hear the horrified realization in her voice as the door closes and the lock ominously clicks, and the disbelief and frustration in knowing she's made the same careless mistake, again. Her tone and voice bring out all the humor and personality of her writing, making this collection even more enjoyable on audio than in print. A Riverhead paperback (Reviews, Nov. 26). (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Vintage Books publicist Crosley (sloanecrosley. com) is a modern diarist with attitude, at once opinionated, witty, and raw. Her personality and spark lend her reading of her own debut essay collection intimacy and authenticity, as though she were the listener's friend dishing over a cup of tea. Highly recommended for public library nonfiction collections. [Audio clip available through us.penguingroup.com; HBO recently optioned the rights to the Riverhead pb original, a New York Times best seller described as "a refreshing, original reflection on modern life recommended for public libraries," LJ 2/15/08.-Ed.]
—Judith Robinson

School Library Journal

This first book by Crosley, a publicist at Vintage/Anchor, is a comical collection of autobiographical essays covering everything from Crosley's obsession with plastic ponies to her experience attending an epidemic of weddings (which leads to a clever and amusing story about her role as a bridesmaid). Writing in an entertaining and witty style, she examines her family, work, sex, and love lives-as well as life in general. We learn that behind the author's secret obsession with plastic ponies, each pony represents memories of a specific individual; at some point, in an effort to liberate herself, she leaves them on a train. We also learn that her unique name-which has had people confusing her with a cancer hospital, a man, and, in one charming essay about her interaction with a telemarketer, "Slow"-helped define her identity, despite the price at which it came. The real story behind Crosley's name-that it was inspired by a black-and-white movie called Diamond Rock-leads her along another path of self-discovery. A refreshing, original reflection on modern life recommended for public libraries.
—Susan McClellan

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Reviews
Humorous collection of autobiographical essays from a single, 20-something woman in New York City. Crosley begins by reminiscing about the peculiarities of her parents and sister, and the childhood influences that amused and obsessed her. One piece riffs on the now-defunct computer game Oregon Trail, which provided "the illusion I was actually going somewhere." At age 12, little did she know that she would become a well-connected book publicist in New York. Much of the material concerns haphazard encounters from her early adult years. She appears to have made an indelible impression on her many close friends and acquaintances, as demonstrated when a former high-school classmate phoned seemingly out of the blue to ask Crosley to be her maid of honor. This is exactly the sort of awkwardly one-sided intimacy that the author stumbles upon, gets tangled in and then, with an inward grimace and external graciousness, attempts to make the best of. One of the strongest and funniest essays tracks her tenure as an assistant to a woman with whom she definitely did not get along. Their antagonistic relationship deteriorated into stony silence after Crosley baked a cookie in her boss's likeness and presented it at the office. "Sometimes, when you do something so marvelously idiotic," she writes, "it's hard to retrace your thought process using the functional logic now available to you." Another, about her move from one Manhattan apartment to another, tells of the day she managed to lock herself out of both. In Crosley's version of adulthood, her gravest responsibility is to protect and revel in her own happiness and well-being. Her essays display the same exacting attention to detail as those of DavidSedaris and an exuberance similar to Beth Lisick's, along with a self-deprecating slant and appealing modesty all her own: "Should I get killed during the day . . . back in the apartment I never should have left, the bed has gone unmade and the dishes unwashed."Witty and entertaining. Agent: Denise Shannon/Denise Shannon Literary Agency

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594483066
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/01/2008
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
129,868
Product dimensions:
7.94(w) x 5.08(h) x 0.62(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are saying about this

Jonathan Lethem
Sloane Crosley is another mordant and mercurial wit from the realm of Sedaris and Vowell. What makes her so funny is that she seems to be telling the truth, helplessly.
From the Publisher
“Whether you’re involved in a love/hate relationship with just yourself or with the entire world, these essays will charm the pants off you—but not so as you’ll feel violated. Sloane Crosley is bright and funny and enchanting. This is a sparkling debut.”
Meghan Daum, author of My Misspent Youth and The Quality of Life Report

  “Hilarious and affecting and only occasionally scatological, I Was Told There’d Be Cake is lively reminiscence about growing up strange. Sardonic without being cruel, tender without being sentimental, Sloane Crosley will win you over with this delightful debut.”
Colson Whitehead, author of Apex Hides the Hurt

“I love Sloane Crosley. In I Was Told There’d Be Cake, she navigates the social, the moral, the romantic experiences that prompt her to create her own voice and freshly define the world around her. Crosley is a post-modern Mary Tyler Moore, and this book is wry, generous, knowing—a perfect document of what it is to be young in today’s world.”
A.M. Homes, author of This Book Will Save Your Life and The Mistress’ Daughter

  “Sloane Crosley is another mordant and mercurial wit from the realm of Sedaris and Vowell. What makes her so funny is that she seems to be telling the truth, helplessly.” 
Jonathan Lethem, author of The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn

“Charming, elegant, wise, and comedic, these essays absolutely sparkle and entertain. Sloane Crosley is a 21st Century Dorothy Parker, and this book is a gem and heralds a wry new voice in American letters. Gorgeous writing, outrageous humor—it’s all here!”
Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up, Sir!

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