Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Sunday, August 14, 2022

“How Did You Get This Number: Essays” by Sloane Crosley

It was bound to happen. After how much I enjoyed Cake, there was no way Sloane Crosley's next book would be just as good. My head told me that, but my heart still hoped, and I followed my heart. 

Maybe if I’d read this book first, I would have loved it? (Or maybe I would never have sought out a second book by Crosley afterwards.) Each essay in Cake was so much fun. But comparatively, these essays seemed hurried, unfinished, unpolished. It was as if Crosley used up all her best material in the first book and then combed through the dregs and tried to mash them together to come up with a second book. I cruised through Cake, giddy and gleeful, giggling all the while, but more often than not in This Number my brow would crease slightly, I would stare off into the middle distance, and I would think, I do not think that means what I think it means. Then I would shrug and read on. 

Harsh, I know. I always feel bad publicly baring my negative opinions of the work of living authors (and then I do it anyway… though it helps assuage my guilt to know that only fourteen people are going to read this). But on a more positive note: the last essay in the book, “Off the Back of a Truck,” was the best one. Not the funniest! It was too heartbreaking to be the funniest. But it was the best, telling the twin stories of how Sloane furnished her studio apartment by serial purchases of beautiful high-end items at cut-rate prices from a fat guy named Daryl even though she was pretty sure everything she bought from him was stolen, and how Sloane spent about a year dating handsome and attractive Ben who had assured her that he and Lauren had broken up, only to find out (from Lauren herself) that he had lied. Yeah, that story was a little depressing but it did have a subtle, gentle humor (most of which I caught, I think) and it definitely felt relatable. 

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