Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

I've been thinking about writing about this book for a couple days.  I contemplated not reviewing it, since I hate to have two negative-ish reviews in a row.  Last week I found this book review blog that only does positive reviews.  Which I guess I kind of understand, but I like to be warned about books and read a different opinions.  When I remember to, I like to look over Goodreads and decide if I want to read a book based on which of my friends like it and which don't.  SO I am going to tell you why I didn't like this book.  And I feel like I can be kind of mean because if you publish a book, you are asking people to judge you.  I say so at least.

I believe these essays are supposed to be funny.  Little slice of life, sort of self-deprecating, observations and experiences that she has chosen to re-tell for our entertainment.  I think Sloane Crosley has some good topics and stories to tell, but when she does, they just don't work for me.  They aren't funny.  Several of them felt like a whole different observation was tacked on in the last paragraph.  Others just didn't seem interesting enough.  Like maybe she needed to embellish what actually happened a bit more.  Some seemed to not explain enough, and others seemed to explain too many irrelevant things.

I remember trying to write this type of thing in college and I was terrible at it.  Really.  I didn't know how to not tell it exactly how it was, and I didn't know what was universal or actually appealing for others to read.  I'm mentioning that to show that I know how NOT to write these kinds of things.  Also, I read a lot more funny and interesting essays on blogs. And I have funny friends.  All of whom are way funnier than Sloane Crosley.

There's also this shock factor she seems to throw at you sometimes.  Like choosing to use the F-word when it isn't even funny, and seems forced and out of place.  Are you just trying to show us you are edgy? Dumb.
Some of her essays seemed like something I would like to read in a magazine, and might even take a mental note of her name to look up sometime.  When I was reading I kept thinking that maybe the next essay would make me laugh and I would join her fan club.  But it didn't happen.  I guess it wasn't so awful that I stopped reading, but I wouldn't recommend it.  Not at all.

I'd like to throw Sloane Crosley a bone, and admit that there were a couple essays that were OK.  They are the ones I wouldn't mind reading in the doctor's office waiting room.  There's an essay, The Height of Luxury,  about going through her mom's jewelry the night before her 16th birthday, and finding out her mom had been married before.  It was OK.  There's another about her stint as a volunteer at a butterfly exhibit. Sign Language for Infidels. The thing is that it seemed like there were all these funny things about it, but when I read it, it was not funny. I probably enjoyed Lay Like Broccoli the best, where she goes into her vegetarianism/vegan/sushi decision making.  The very last one, Fever Faker, is about when she finds out she might have a disease.  I really almost thought it was going to be funny.

I'm sad this book wasn't funny.  I think that the title is awesome.  I think the idea of it was great.  But it kind of reminded me of watching Saturday Night Live sometimes.  You know how that is, funny people, funny idea, dumb skit?


Betsy said...

I looked this one up recently and thought it sounded interesting -- was it on Kacy's blog? I am so glad (as always) for your honest review. I choose so many of my books based on this blog. Now I know to skip this one. You're the best.

Kammy T said...

Betsy--I did get the suggestion from Kacy's January books! I had to go back and post in her comments because I'm always surprised when I don't like something that someone else does! said...

guess I'll skip it. I appreciate negative reviews and even review of "I just don't get what the big deal about this book is". I know what you mean about SNL. You turn it on, b/c you want it to be funny, but most of it just isn't.