I Was Told There’d Be Cake

I just finished I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley.  It’s a collection of essays from a single girl in New York who is almost exactly my age.

Usually, these kinds of books annoy me.  They’re either really vapid and self-indulgent (“Look at me… I spent my rent money on $800 shoes!”) or focus WAY too much on the sexual escapades of being single in New York (call it the Carrie Bradshaw effect.)   And they always make me feel worse about myself.

Luckily, this wasn’t one of those books.

Granted, Crosley’s career in publishing is a bit different than mine. Her volunteer experience is at the Museum of Natural History and not the Champaign County Humane Society, but there’s enough shared experiences to make this a delightful read.  

It made me think of a Steinbeck quote* I once read:

We are lonesome animals.
We spend our life trying to be less lonesome.
One of our ancient methods is to tell a story
begging the listener to say
–and to feel–
‘Yes, that’s the way it is,
or at least that’s the way I feel it.
You’re not as alone as you thought.

— John Steinbeck

With anecdotes about playing Oregon Trail, drinking Zima and wishing her parents had moved her to Australia,  Crosley successfully delivers a plenty of laugh-out-loud “hey–me, too!” moments.  

And she does it without being intimidating or condescending.  Yes, she works and lives in New York City. And, yes, she went to an Ivy League school.  But it’s her average, everyday (and hilarious) stories that really resonate with me, that make me want to say, “Yes, that’s the way it is.”

—–

*I had to Google to verify that this was, in fact, a Steinbeck quote.  I discovered that it’s part of a longer quote on the relationship between writers and readers.  It’s interesting, but I like the shorter version better.

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