Monday, July 5, 2010
How Did You Get This Number? by Sloane Crosley
If you haven't read Sloane Crosley before, then you should. Her first book, I Was Told There'd Be Cake is very funny. She told stories about being a bridesmaid for a woman she hadn't seen since junior high, asking boyfriends for ponies and ending up with a stablefull of breakup memorabilia, and the downside of volunteering at a butterfly exhibit. I loved experiencing these things through her writing, and when I found out that she wrote a new book of essays, I was very excited.
How Did You Get This Number is another book of eclectic stories. Some of the essays are about living in New York, dealing with taxis, and the desire to move away from an anorexic kleptomaniac roommate and into a possibly haunted former whorehouse. Other essays describe travels to Lisbon and Paris. In Lisbon, Crosley meets a group of clown college students and gets invited to an underground circus performance. Paris doesn't bode so well, as she accidentally gets trapped in an apartment courtyard while trying to show her grasp of Parisian directions. Several Parisians tell her to leave, and she takes this to mean that she is banished from the city.
Among my favorite essays was "An Abbreviated Collection of Tongues," which highlights the various pets the Crosleys have owned throughout the years. "If You Sprinkle" was fun to read because of the slumber parties, Girl Talk board games, and Mean Girls drama. It's the stuff I'm grateful that I never experiences in junior high.
More than those, I really liked "Off the Back of a Truck." It combines a story about dealing with a man who sold her stolen furniture and a story about starting a relationship with a guy only to find out that he may not be all the way broken up with his ex-girlfriend.
I enjoyed the book, but there was an incident in one essay where Crosley traveled to Alaska to serve as a bridesmaid. It involved a baby bear and a drunk driver. I cried. Don't read that part if you are overly sensitive and love baby bears like me. Crosley mentioned storing up emotional trauma from moments such as these to release later on, and I think just reading about that story has added the baby bear to my list of emotional trauma.
As much as I love essays, it is very difficult for me to write a review of this writing style. Just like in her first book, Sloane Crosley kept me captivated no matter what the subject matter. That's all you can ask from an author.