I Was Told There'd Be Cake

( 101 )

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...

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I Was Told There'd Be Cake

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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.
 

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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 Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 132,056
  • Product dimensions: 7.94 (w) x 5.08 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Sloane Crosley

Sloane Crosley is the author of the bestsellers How Did You Get This Number and I Was Told There'd Be Cake, which was a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Her 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 lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 101 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(41)

4 Star

(29)

3 Star

(14)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(7)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 101 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    :)

    I highly enjoyed this book. Sloane has a unique and profound way of looking at the world. I look forward to her next book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    laughed out loud

    This book was a refreshing escape after a long day of work. The author is witty and delightfully self-deprecating in her storytelling about otherwise normal day-to-day life in New York. I was sad to finish it! Her writing is similar to Dave Sedaris. Looking forward to reading her other works.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2011

    Great read

    This is a very entertaining set of essays by the author of How Did You Get This Number? Specifically requested by a friend who had the other book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Nothing but "Wit & Charm"

    From the start Sloane Crosley's "I was told there'd be cake" tucks you into her magic world of sharply witted words and delectable charm---much the same way writer Dorothy Parker did nearly ninety years ago. Crosley's seemingly effortless flow of words and gabs, would have fit squarely in the infamous Algonquin Round Table made famous by Parker and her clever friends. Fresh eyes bring fresh insight, and to author Sloane these traits glue like butter to her psyche. If laughing out loud is for you when your reading, by all means grab this book and covet it. It won't disappoint. I'm only disappointed in the fact the book wasn't sold with a gem of a cake to indulge with along with it. Sliced right though, this book will do nothing but smile right back at you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2009

    Why do I have to give it one whole star?

    If only you could rate it lower. I was so excited to get this book in the mail because I had been on an essay kick with the likes of Sarah Vowell and David Sedaris. The author/narrator of this book so so irritating that I was almost unable to get to the end of the book. On the other hand, if you are looking for a book to make you feel better about yourself, this could be stimulating.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2009

    I was told this would be funny

    I put off buying this book because every time I opened it in a book store, the random paragraphs that I read were so boring that I would put it back on the shelf. But yesterday the book shop had a used copy for half price and I already had my credit card out. After reading it I am sure of one thing -- I want my money back! As they say, "That's history. Get over it." But how can I describe Sloane's (don't call her Sloan) mundane stories and their New York-nothingness? Whiny. Braggy. Selfish. Without a moment of funny. By the way, if you really want to read it, I have a used copy for sale. Real cheap.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 16, 2009

    Excellent

    Thouching, funny & insiteful stories about life growing up near & living as a young adult in a big city. I could not put it down. Great for all ages my 19 yr old daughter read it then passed it on to me. I would recomend this book to everyone who likes a good story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    If you like Sedaris, buy this book.

    This is an excellent book by an author who most certainly has a promising future. Her intelligence and wit are balanced with her ability to laugh at herself wholeheartedly. I highly recommend this book, one of the best I've read in a long time. Can't wait for her next one to come out.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Sort of Boring

    I was looking forward to this book being a lot like the Chelsea Handler series, but it lacked the substance and hilarity. It was funny in some parts, mainly in the last couple of chapters where she is the bridesmaid, otherwise pretty bland.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Finish a thought already!!

    I so wanted to like this book. I am an obsessive fan of David Sedaris and when I read in one of the critics¿ comments that she is comparable to his writing style I thought for sure I had a winner. Furthermore, one of my dearest friends told me that when she read this book, it was my voice she had pictured in her head. Perfect! Let the laughing begin. <BR/>Wrong. <BR/>With the exception of a few snigger-worthy moments, this book is just a compilation of endless brain tangents. She¿ll start the telling of one story and just as you think it¿s going to amount to something, she completely digresses into some random musing. What you end up with is a series of diluted, and truthfully, very boring self deprecating yarns. <BR/>Very disappointing. <BR/>Rating: 2 out of 5 stars<BR/>Suggested With: A Long Island Ice Tea (it¿s in line with the constant references to New York and it¿ll help you find humor in the mundane)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2008

    This made me laugh out loud!

    Absolutely hysterical! I would take this book during my commute into work and everyone on the bus would stare at me because I couldn't stop laughing out loud. Maybe because I am a late 20's new yorker myself, but I could totally relate to her stories. I felt like someone was telling the ridiculous stories that my friends and I have shared. Fun, lighthearted,get ready to laugh, read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2008

    Cake and Eat It Too

    I finished 'I was told There'd Be Cake' a good week ago and my face still smarts from laughing so hard and so often. Sloane Crosley is a rare, precocious talent and I'm permanently beholden.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2008

    dissappointed

    I was really excited to read this book and was pretty disappointed. I expected to laugh out loud and mostly just smiled a few times. Maybe I didn't understand her humor but the stories she told just seemed boring to me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2008

    Excellecent!!!

    I was laughing outloud in public thanks to Sloane. The essays are more of a stream of consciousness than anything else. Luckily her thoughts are an endless parade of funny situations. I am waiting for more cake as well!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2014

    Entertaining

    ?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    Funny

    Funny!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 24, 2012

    I enjoy how Sloane looks at the world, she has a funny witty way

    I enjoy how Sloane looks at the world, she has a funny witty way of explaining simple or sometime chaotic happenings in her life.
    This book was quite enjoyable, easy to read for a little bit and put down but always wanting to go back. The stories were short and quite hilarious, caught myself laughing out loud a couple times. I look forward to another book from her, hopefully soon.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2012

    Love it

    Hilarious short stories. Read it twice already.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    Disappointing

    Although the book at times was funny, it generally wasn't amusing and I was constantly asking myself what the author's point was. I hoped for a pretty good, fun read but the book fell short.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2010

    Eh.

    I saw that this book had mixed reviews, but based on what looked like a fun first chapter I gave it a shot anyway. Now I wish I had read a bit further.

    The writing style reminds me of some of the wittier columns written by journalism students at my college newspaper. A third of the way into it I'm wondering who this author knew in the publishing world and how she leveraged that into a boook deal.

    I'm not usually so neagative, but if I can stop one person from wasting their $12.99...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 101 Customer Reviews

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