Customer Reviews: I Was Told There'd Be Cake: Essays
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on May 7, 2008
I was drawn to this book because the pull quote on the cover said it was in the tradition of Sederis and Vowell. While I am glad I read it, it is not a must read. Crosley is talented but can be predictable and cliché. She lacks self-awareness. At the same time, she's terribly funny (she even pulls off mean funny), gutsy and admirably self-confident. She's best when she is honest and generous. I look forward to reading more of her work and watching her grow as a writer. As for this book, it would have benefitted from a tougher editor.
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on April 11, 2008
While the writing is pretty good, and this collection of essays has its moments of cleverness, overall it's not as funny (by no means would I call it "hilarious") or interesting as hyped. The essays suffer somewhat from a steeping in twentysomething self-absorption/middle-class angst, and don't qualify for inclusion in the same league as David Sedaris and Dorothy Parker, because they lack a certain edginess. The stardard white-girl fare (first job, mean boss; being in a wedding), is, at times, mildly entertaining, but not particularly memorable. Bottom line: it's okay.
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on May 1, 2008
I feel mean sayin' it, but it's true. I was all excited about curling up with this read after reading great reviews. I jumped ship after about 30 pages. It's not David Sedaris. It's not anything remotely as funny or interesting or insightful. It reminds me of a girl who goes out with you and your work friends and tells embarrassing stories about herself, and you laugh/wince, cause you're a bit drunk, and then, the next day, you feel kinda bad for her, like she exposed too much, and that she kinda needed the attention, and you're kinda embarrassed for her, even though she isn't. I lived in NY for a long time and these people are all over the place. This is her book.
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on June 7, 2008
I'm only giving this three stars because it really is a three star book. That said-- I expect that eventually she'll have quite a few five star books, as she has the talent-- it just isn't fully developed as of yet.

I was quite disappointed with the first few essays, and thought that maybe she was trying too hard. The essays are somewhat enjoyable, but she mixes a few too many clichés in with too few of her very original sentences.

But-- it was good enough to keep me reading, and I absolutely loved the "You On a Stick" essay about her being asked to be a bridesmaid in an old friend's wedding. Thoroughly enjoyable, and something many of us can relate to.

She's young and still finding her voice. My guess is that her next work will be an improvement and that we'll be hearing more from her.

She definitely is cool-- in that she is honest, and that she writes from her own perspective, not caring what might "sell."

This book to me, while disappointing overall, does show that she has the observational voice that we all love in the Sedarises and Burroughs of the world. Plus she has the ability to create unusual and entertaining phrases which you have to admire.

I'll definitely be watching her rise.
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VINE VOICEon September 17, 2008
If you have American kids -- or may have them someday -- did you ever think of raising them in an interesting foreign country so they could come back as teens with a high coolness quotient? No? Would you send a Jewish ten-year-old to a Christian summer camp? and if you did, would you be surprised to hear that she played Mary in the "Christmas in July" pageant after the blond Girl from Darien was hobbled by a broken toe? Is there a collection of anything in your kitchen drawers, let's say toy ponies for example, that you worry about your mother finding if you die unexpectedly? and if so, would you dispose of them on a Brooklyn-bound subway train? Have you ever locked yourself out on moving day, from both old AND new apartments, requiring two expensive calls to the same sarcastic locksmith?

No? Then you're not like Sloane Crosley, the twenty-something author of I Was Told There'd Be Cake. This little book of wildly assorted essays is a kind of cubist blueprint for the young, well-off, well-educated New York woman. Crosley's writing is irreverent about her family ("I have never met two people more afraid of their house burning down than my parents") and particularly about her (we hope) well-disguised friends. She says of a pair of dinner guests: "Because there are no more hippies, you don't call them hippies. (But if you ever saw two people on a beach, gorging themselves on whole-wheat burritos and pot, picking sand out of each other's toes, and diving into the water naked, that would be them.)"

You may wonder whether you care about Sloane Crosley's observations on her short life to date. That's one question I can't answer for you. I will tell you that while her experiences may be alien to anything you have ever done, thought or felt, the girl can write intelligently and with great humor; there are unifying principles in the human existence and she catalogs a subset of them very well . We're bound to hear more from this young writer, and if she brings her sardonic wit to deeper subjects it will be very well worth reading. This book was an entertaining look at her world. One star off for the essay format, as I believe her book would have been better served by a more linear memoir format.

Linda Bulger, 2008
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on July 23, 2008
While I felt that Crosley's quirky topics were mildly entertaining, I have to say I disagree with other reviewers that she has promise and talent. In my opinion, she is quite simply not a very good writer. I didn't even finish the book. She certainly doesn't belong among the ranks of great humorists like David Sedaris (the comparison being the reason I bought this book in the first place).
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on February 21, 2016
Sloane Crosley ‘s memoir I Was Told There’d Be Cake is a delightful tale of the frantic and eccentric life of a New York native in her natural habitat. From the cynical retelling of tarts gone wrong to the parade of toy ponies from potential suitors and even tales of being the only Jew in a Christian summer camp, Crosley’s cynical and honest tone will keep the pages turning. This book is well suited for anyone who shares an interest in life’s quirkier nuances and enjoys a fresh spin on the tales of awkward happenstance common to everyday life.
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on April 29, 2009
and it wasn't as "hilarious and witty" as the reviews I read raved about this book. I took this book on vacation, expecting to laugh hysterically as I lounged and drank by the pool. Several margaritas later, still no laughs. This book had it's moments that made me smile, like Oregon Trail Day (which was quite funny) but overall, lacked the bite that I expected. The concepts behind the stories were fun and quirky, but they fizzled out after a couple of pages. It seemed like the author took one thought and created a giant run-on sentence with it that wasn't all that funny. I really wanted to like this book because I do like sarcasm and wit, but was pretty disappointed. That being said, I do see potential with this author and hope she'll develop more over time.
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on June 18, 2008
I don't know how this book is getting such high ratings. This author thinks she's much funnier and interesting than she really is. Her stories are boring and I found myself asking "who cares" during much of the book. Why the author thinks that anyone will care about her little antidotes is beyond me. She must be very self centered to think that people want to hear about her stupid "pony" line and about summer camp. You can definitely see she's part of generation 'ME' (see: Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled--and More Miserable Than Ever Before
by Jean M. Twenge for an interesting read).
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on September 16, 2008
I'd been wanting to read this book for some time, so when it was chosen for my book club, I was excited. The title was witty and enticing, the author was compared to Sedaris and it was a NY Times was a sure bet for a good read, right?

The complete opposite. I don't think there was one funny or remotely humorous part of the entire book. Sloane Crosley just ranted and bitched about everything and her writing style is enough to put you to sleep. She endlessly goes on about the smallest, mundane things...if she wrote more concisely, she would have a shot at least being witty.

And, I finished the book (after forcing myself to) not liking her one bit! She complains about everything - from having to be in a high school friend's wedding to how it's impossible for her to find someone to have a one night stand with in NYC. She was portrayed as someone you wouldn't want as a friend or even acquaintance.

If she can write a book, let alone a NY Times bestseller, anyone can.
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