33. How Did You Get This Number? – Sloane Crosley
One of the stories in this collection is title a phrase I happen to have repeated several times that is a bit off-putting but situationally funny so I won’t say what it is because it may defile reading eyes. So, yeah, I’m kind of biased against these essays. And I was against her first book too, because after reading it I felt like someone had already had my life without any of the painful moments or struggles and that’s a hard pill to swallow. This one wasn’t even as well-written as the first one. Many of the essays seem to be meandering about in self-amusement. You got a great deal on furniture because you sort of smiled at someone who has access to the delivery truck and can mess it up so you can get a better price? That’s nice, who the hell can afford to buy new furniture anymore? Perhaps the problems in these essays would seem quirky and cute to me if I…no, they never would, she just doesn’t have the right tone for me to be amused by these stories.
The other woman writer who reminds me of me and has lived a much better life but comes off way less smug than Sloane Crosley does (especially about New York, sigh, I’m tired of essayists from New York, and I’m tired of coastally focused smugness) is Rachel Shukert. She has some seriously funny essays that she’s published on Nerve (where I first found her) and in collections that reflect that things haven’t always been handed to her; there’s a resonant tone that she uses that Crosley lacks. I blame it on Shukert’s Midwestern upbringing. When I read her work I think she appreciates what she’s accomplished and didn’t just step into it. When I read Crosley’s work I think she expects another damn pony.