How Did You Get This Number (Book Review)

Title: How Did You Get This Number

Author: Sloane Crosley

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Personal Essays, Humor

Year Published: Riverhead Hardcover, 2010

Recommended by: n/a

Review: Booklist.  *Starred Review* In her first collection of essays, I Was Told There’d Be Cake (2008), Crosley revealed herself as the kind of writer with whom readers could be friends. You could exchange travel stories or compare descriptions of the odor of a NYC taxicab, and you could probably make her laugh, too. In Crosley’s new book, she maintains her humor but inflects it with a sense of melancholy. In the manner of David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell, Crosley tells us about European vacation disasters, the inexhaustible nuances of life in New York, and playing the role of bridesmaid . . . in Alaska. Here even more personal and reflective than in her prior writing, Crosley saves the best for last with the beautifully layered ‘Off the Back of a Truck,’ which also contains the inspiration for the book’s title. In this story about learning the range of what we can and can’t afford, she explains that some things are worth foregoing morality to get (hint: they are rugs and ottomans, not boyfriends). Her ability to be at once so familiar and still surprise us is really showcased here. Smart, clever, and frank, Crosley’s stories are as intimate, and embarrassingly eccentric, as the thoughts we keep to ourselves.

Notes: Crosley’s first book, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, was funnier on a whole.  I didn’t laugh out loud at this book, but the last three stories were really enjoyable.

Rating (out of four stars): three stars

Date Finished: 7/9/10


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