this is a book of art made from trump quotes. no explanations, no Political Analysis, just words. it’s incredible.
Hands down the most beautiful characters I’ve ever read, but also one of the hardest-to-read books I’ve ever encountered. Simone de Beauvoir nails female emotion so perfectly I couldn’t bare to look at it head-on. The woman she describes are everything we’ve been taught to avoid and to scorn, but they’ve been given the microphone. Very incredible.
“What nonsense, this intoxicating notion of progress, of upward movement, that I had cherished; for now the moment of collapse was at hand! It had already begun. And now it would be very fast and very slow: we were going to turn into really old people.”
I know I’ve already talked a little on here about the ways I Was Told There’d Be Cake (Crosley’s first book) changed my life, but it really did. I read the whole thing in an afternoon, looking up and around after each one, shocked that you could write like this and actually publish it. Was Sloane Crosley pulling the wool over our collective eyes? Alas, she wasn’t. She’d just served to crack the door a little wider to a genre that is now fully saturated, the humorous and relatable, poignant but winking, personal essay.
I liked these. A few of them were really incredible, and one I got halfway through and skipped to the end. This collection is written more confidently, less set-ups for jokes, more authentic story-telling.
“Anything for a change of scenery, anything for no distractions. Anything for the ideal conditions. We become increasingly particular about our conditions until part of us can’t help but think of all the work we’d get done if only we were buried alive.”
Would you like your heart to be stepped upon? Would you like to laugh while it happens? Would you like to gain access to another world that will stay with you forever, but you’ll never be able to articulate to another human being? Welcome.
“But whatever, we descendants of the Girl Line may not have wealth and proper windows in our drafty homes but at least we have rage and we will build empires with that, gentlemen.”
“Dan wanted me to stay. I wanted Elf to stay. Everyone in the whole world was fighting with somebody to stay. When Richard Bach wrote “If you love someone, set them free” he can’t have been directing his advice at human beings.”
The best books, to me, are genre-benders. Too autobiographical to be considered straight fiction, too poetic to be completely factual. Pushing into essay, memoir, and poetry all at once. On those counts, this book is pretty much perfect. It’s charming and funny but barbed, likely to get caught in your brain for the foreseeable future. I very much recommend.
Short stories about women they don’t hate themselves. It’s sort of reminiscent of Barbara the Slut, if you’ve read that, but I think she does an even better job creating redeemable characters and situations almost instantly. Very fun to read.
“The way the women are together is its own foreign country; they move around each other like extensions of a single body, their voices and laughter entangled.”
Going to begin by embracing the collective you: In most books you read there’s probably something, small or large, you don’t morally agree with. But it’s likely you don’t feel the need to distance yourself from it or acknowledge it. I’ve never heard someone say, “read this book, but watch out, they steal something in chapter three and that’s uncool.”
Typically the things that are uncouth, that don’t mesh into polite society or our specific worldview, are described in a sanitized way, and especially when you’re talking about affairs, or desire, or sex in general, they’re often described from a male perspective. This book is different. It’s a little bit shocking, it’s supposed to be. But if you are disgusted by it, you’re sort of proving her right.
But really, this book is about a lot more than that. it’s about women, as people existing in the world. It’s about literature and art. It’s about marriage and affairs, and it’s about desire. It’s one of the books that strung together a lot of broken pieces that were already floating around my brain, and I think pretty much everyone should read it.