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I Was Told There'd Be Cake: Essays

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  38,024 ratings  ·  4,079 reviews
From the author of the novel, The Clasp, hailed by Michael Chabon, Heidi Julavits, and J. Courtney Sullivan. Wry, hilarious, and profoundly genuine, this debut collection of literary essays from Sloane Crosley is a celebration of fallibility and haplessness in all their glory.

From despoiling an exhibit at the Natural History Museum to provoking the ire of her first boss to
Paperback, 230 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Riverhead Books
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Average rating 3.45  · 
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Oct 10, 2008 rated it liked it

So you want to be a successful memoirist/personal essayist? Follow these ten steps and wait for the book deals to roll into your mailbox!

1. Write about your upbringing in ways that make it sound charming in its quirkiness (e.g. the Vowell/Klosterman strategy), charming in its weirdness (the Sedaris strategy) or terrifying (the Burroughs strategy). Under no circumstances should y
Jul 08, 2008 rated it did not like it
First, I have to be fair-I only read about 3/4 of this book because it was all I could stand. Maybe the last 1/4 was amazing.

I found it rambling, uninspired, boring and not very funny. It sounded like the stories you tell your friends-your friends think the stories are funny because they know you. Maybe they even tell you that you're really funny and you should write all these stories down and publish them because you are so funny and your stories are so unique. But you know better. You know tha
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
I started writing a review 1/2 way through the book because I had a lot to say about Ms. Crossley. I'm posting the 1/2 way point review because I just couldn't finish the book.

I’m more then 1/2 way through “I Was Told There’d Be Cake”, a book of essays by Sloane Crosley. I started it Sunday, by this morning’s bus ride I’ve plowed through this book relatively easily. She’s a good writer. She manages to keep my ever wandering attention as I over stimulate myself on Muni with a coffee, my ipod
Jason Koivu
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Occasionally humorous, but the humor of the spoiled of upper-middle-class woes such as forgetting your keys, leaving your wallet behind, spending hundreds on a locksmith after locking yourself out of your Manhattan apartment, getting lice at summer camp, enduring an annoyed boss because you're a kid just out of an expensive college who has no real marketable skills.

Credit where credit's due, Sloane Crosley is a decent writer and a decent humorist. She can turn a good phrase now and then, enough
Apr 09, 2008 rated it liked it
What can I say?

I never intended to read this book. I probably never would have, had I not received it in a publicity mailing at work. The day it arrived, I was between books and just wanted something to read on the subway. So I did. And then I kept reading.

I tend to not like to read books by "successful" people around my age. If the books suck, I'm angry for wasting my time. Worse, if they're actually good, I'm angry that this person, who might as well be me, actually had the motivation and ene
Apr 20, 2008 rated it liked it
this book isn't bad, but it isn't good either. it just is. most of the essays are about as quirky as your mom after two glasses of wine, putting her hand over her mouth and gasping about the 'sh-' word. sloane crosley is scared she will suffer an untimely death and whoever cleans out her apartment will find her stash of toy ponies. ... this is not really the stuff of shocking hilarity.

it's almost quaint in its lack of risk-taking. sloane crosley comes across as a sweet, self-depreciating, smart
May 20, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2008
Sloane Crosley is similar to me and my friends in education, background, life experience, career trajectory, and the like. The big difference is she has a book deal, and we do not. As such, I tried to read this with an open mind and not hate her off the bat.

Turned out that was all an unnecessary gesture on my part, as even someone completely remote from her experience would realize she is one of the most talentless hacks to come along in ages. This book was unbearable! These "essays" (more accu
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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We're all in the midst of our own existential dilemmas and hearing someone write quirky little diatribes about their Devil Wears Prada-esque boss or the friend who left poop on their carpet can sometimes make us feel as though we aren't alone.

I WAS TOLD THERE'D BE CAKE isn't that different from the hundreds of other autobiographical essays out there, but Sloane Crosley does have a style that is all her own. Some of her analogies are crea
Jun 30, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one (not even my worst enemy!)
This book is so awful, so awful I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Maybe I just missed the punch lines (I think these essays were meant to be humorous), but my overwhelming response to these essays was "So what?" Apparently, they are based upon Ms. Crosley's life--I hate to break it to her, but I just don't think her life has been that interesting. The final affront was an apparent joke in her less-than-humorous essay about a possible move to Australia (thank goodness for us Australians she n ...more
Apr 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
The blurb on the cover compares her to David Sedaris. The blurb on the back compares her to Dorothy Parker. These people are out of their fucking minds. Sloane Crosley has a lot of interesting anecdotes in her arsenal, but she doesn't know how to tell them without boring the shit out of you. ...more
Jan 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
I found that each essay had, hovering in the background, an exquisite sadness. An aching. To belong, to have belonged. A desire to not fuck up despite a penchant for fucking up.

This book may be, on the surface, a collection of humorous essays; but a ghost, called Lost Opportunities, hovers beneath that glassy surface, knocking.

Longing to breathe.

Longing to breathe the air of a wider, gentler world and to drop the burden of the "Lost".

To be found.

Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was embarrassed to have been reduced to the level of a child, embarrassed to have given her a homemade gift, embarrassed by how suddenly and indisputably unprofessional it seemed to give one’s boss a cookie in the shape of her disembodied head.

Crosley is a smart and witty writer.

Like many gatherings of essays the content is somewhat uneven in quality and (for me anyway) it’s rare to like them all, so I think the amount of good ones were well worth the read.

Side note: I like that in her blurb
May 31, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Those wanting to learn to become more effectively self-referential
Recommended to Aaron by:
It's hard not to blame David Sedaris for Sloane Crosley. I mean to use "blame" lightly - I don't think Sloane Crosley is a thing anyone should necessary be sorry for, but by popularizing the whole "my family is weird in a way that is eccentric but essentially without serious conflict" genre of self-data mining, he's opened the door for people like Crosley to tell very similar stories about their OWN harmless strangeness.

I suppose this is essentially livejournal lit - as a blog, Crosley would be
Jul 03, 2008 rated it liked it
I gave this book a snarky review a few years ago that several GoodReads readers liked, but since reading the whole book (and maturing maybe just a tiny bit), I feel much more generous toward Crosley and her brand of innocently naughty humor.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was eager for a helping of Crosley's Cake after quickly burning through her very latest essay collection - Look Alive Out There, released in spring 2018 - earlier in the week while away on a brief vacation. I also really enjoyed the pleasant and similarly-styled Cake, which chronologically is her first book from back in 2008. Crosley again discusses various and unrelated topics - summer camp experiences, her first job after college, being a member of a wedding party, a health concern - with sp ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
One hot mess.
White people problems.
This is a very uneven collection essays crammed with disjointed bits and bobs that attempt to be cute and ironic, but come off as braggadocious and not at all funny. It's really too bad, because I enjoyed Sloane Crosley's The Clasp.
Jason Brown (Toastx2)
Jun 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
“I was told there’d be cake”

Sloane Crosley.. we had such high hopes for you.

reading your pony story in radar, it seemed that reading your book was an awesome idea. if something makes you smile that much and it is only a single chapter from a book.. the rest MUST be excellent… right?

no. couldn’t have been more wrong.

when this book was first purchased, i was very pleased to read the pony story again. i imagined with horror the looks your family would give, when stumbling across your plastic pony c
Apr 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 20-somethings
Essays for Twenty-Somethings
Always on the lookout for a new, fresh voice, and one touted as a "mercurial wit" on a par with David Sedaris and Dorothy Parker, had to be good, right? Well . . . I'm sorry to report these front and back cover comparisons are just good copywriting. I'm not saying this author isn't talented. She is. She's funny, smart, quirky, writes well, and has a few 20-something stories to relate to, perhaps, essay-readers of her generation and fellow Manhattan-ites who may never
Aug 07, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: essays
Sloane Crosley might make an interesting blogger and you'd read her stuff every once in a while when you're super bored at work but essay after essay in a book was too much. None of the stories were particularly funny or interesting. Reading the book was very much like meeting someone that all of your friends like and you've heard about this person non-stop and then you meet them and they're not particularly funny or interesting. At first you try to like them as much as everyoen else does but th ...more
Tim Lepczyk
Oct 01, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one really
Sloane Crosley isn't the reason I dislike most creative nonfiction, but she writes from the same sense of smallness that leaves me as a reader thinking, so what? So, you collect plastic ponies, so you've lost your wallet and had it returned a bunch of times, so you were a maid of honor and a jerk to your friend, so you almost were sick but just ate too much spinach instead, who cares?

What bothers me about creative nonfiction/the personal narrative which we are teaching college freshmen across th
Mar 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Oriana by: kira
Shelves: read-2010
Oh man, this book was so much fun. These essays are light without being inconsequential, funny without trying too hard, snarky without being cruel (mostly), and smart without being pedantic. Great, great little rants on the hell of being a bridesmaid, the shame of locking yourself out of your apartment (in your pajamas! before you've even had a cup of coffee!), the dirty secrets we keep in our apartments (first line of the first essay: "As most New Yorkers have done, I have given serious thought ...more
This was our May 2008 book club read...can't say I was thrilled with it. The point was often missing from many of the essays, and while I laughed and happily flipped through the pages, the content seemed better suited for a blog than a book. Crosley has a good voice, but I just didn't see the magic that other essayists - like the ubiquitous but amazing David Sedaris - bring to their books. You won't be bored reading this, but it's more like you're listening to your friend tell you some funny thi ...more
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
A series of essays that are sometimes entertaining. Some are funny, some...not so much. But, it's short, so... ...more
Apr 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Julie by: Amazon
I was attracted by the title, since the presence of cake is a major motivational force in my life. Unfortunately, the book didn’t come with cake, and it was poorer for it. While I admired some of the sharp prose, I felt that I was reading a weird cross of The Devil Wears Prada (and all the other young-woman-just-out-of-college-finding-her-way-in-NYC novels) and David Sedaris: memoir-type essays written by a woman in her late 20’s in NYC who works menial jobs in publishing. She covers the indigni ...more
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Funny. Funny. Funny.
May 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
The nice thing about a collection of essays is that you can read one, put the book down, and come back to it later, and not really have to remember what you read before.

Even if I hadn't been stuck on a plane for 6 hours, I probably would have read most of Sloan Crosley's essays in one sitting. They're funny and a little sad, and easy to relate to. I couldn't put the book down, and frankly, I didn't want to.

Thanks Sloan Crosley, for making my six hour flight to Boston (in the middle seat, no le
Sharon :)
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to all my Goodreads friends who had this book in their feed . ✔️ short stories in my 2019 reading challenge. This book was so funny the author is a trip. My favorite type of audiobook love when the author narrates. Quick and fun book!!!
Jun 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
It's true that to enjoy "I Was Told There'd Be Cake," you have to be in Sloane Crosley's target audience, and it's true that her target audience is a fairly small group. Sloane writes for people just like herself... young professionals with a suburbanite upbringing, trying to make it in [insert industry here] in [insert big city here].

Sloane is a young publishing professional trying to make it in New York City.

Replace "publishing professional" with "lawyer" and replace "New York City" with "Wash
Aug 26, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had really high hopes for this book. I listened to it, read by the author, after reading the summary of her newest book, How Did You Get This Number?, which sounded quirky, amusing and fun. I figured I'd start at the beginning and work my way through her essays.
The author is the same age as my youngest sister, with whom I do not gel. Maybe it's the generation gap; I trail the end of mine and she begins hers. Perhaps that's what causes the friction between our ambitions, ethics and general sens
The jacket of this book simultaneously sold and ruined the book for me. I bought it based on the blurb on the cover (from Jonathan Lethem no less!) comparing her to David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell, and the back where another author calls her the twenty-first century Dorothy Parker. I was intrigued. The power of the blurb: I probably wouldn't have even picked up the book in the store without them, but those are some pretty big shoes to fill, and I think my expectations were a little high.

I enjoye
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Sloane Crosley is the author of the New York Times bestsellers I Was Told There'd Be Cake (a Thurber Prize finalist) and How Did You Get This Number. The Clasp is her first novel. A frequent contributor to The New York Times, she lives in Manhattan.

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