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Look Alive Out There

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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  5,613 ratings  ·  552 reviews
From the New York Times-bestselling author Sloane Crosley comes Look Alive Out There―a brand-new collection of essays filled with her trademark hilarity, wit, and charm. The characteristic heart and punch-packing observations are back, but with a newfound coat of maturity. A thin coat. More of a blazer, really.

Fans of I Was Told There'd Be Cake and How Did You Get This Num
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256 pages
Published 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Jill
Apr 12, 2018 added it
I didn't finish this one after losing steam halfway through. Crosley is an enjoyable narrator, but there were enough too-perfect details in a situation that I questioned how "real" everything was (I don't doubt the author's truthfulness, but wonder if there was a bit of creative fudging, if that makes sense). There was an urgency that felt missing in these essays — maybe Crosley's witty, sardonic voice could be better applied to more journalistic narratives rather than looking inward (not that l ...more
Jamie Bernard
I’ve loved Sloane Crosley for a long time. She has a snarky wit about her that is unrivaled. I’m just not sure what to make of this collection of essays. Some were amazing. I especially enjoyed reading about her interactions with neighbors and a story about a relative that worked in the sex industry. Others fell flat. Her earlier works were funny because they were so relatable. I’m wondering if she has lost touch with her audience a bit? The travel essays in particular felt more like privileged ...more
Gretchen Rubin
I love essays, and I heard a great interview with Sloane Crosley on the Longform podcast so wanted to read this collection. I'd read her earlier book, I Was Told There'd Be Cake. I rarely make observations like this, but I will say: Crosley is really good with a metaphor.
Scott
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was completely unfamiliar with Ms. Crosley or her previous collections of essays, but I kept seeing Look Alive Out There on the library's new release non-fic shelf so I decided to take a chance on it.

Opinions will vary (just from what I've seen on Goodreads), but I really liked her relaxed style and choice / range of topics. Some of the dozen-plus pieces were short - just a page or two - but others ran 20 or 30 pages. Some were pretty funny ('Outside Voices' and 'If You Take the Canoe Out') wh
...more
Amy
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Mostly enjoyable. A full star off for a particularly gross essay in which Crosley goes to Ecuador to climb a volcano she's done exactly zero research on and has done no prep for, and of course she needs to be rescued by her Ecuadorian guides, whom she complains about constantly even though they risked their lives to give her this "experience." Icky white privilege run amok.
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
I’m not sure that these are essays - more like anecdotes from someone who makes stupid mistakes and then uses self-deprecating humor to get everyone to laugh about it. There are some insights here and her tone is relaxed and engaging, but over time the gag starts to wear thin.
ns510
I like my essays more incisive than these, which felt more like hanging out with a hilarious friend as she shares her stories with you. There were some moments of insight, and others where her privilege seemed to colour the anecdote being shared. My favourite in this collection is probably The Grape Man.
Edward Lorn
If any of these stories actually happened I'll eat a roll of quarters and shit you arcade tokens.
Kathleen
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Crosley’s essays have been compared to David Sedaris. I don’t see it! True, they are both a little bit neurotic and keen observers of the foibles of others, but Crosley just seems to be a little too privileged—a little too ‘Manhattan’—for me to relate to her humor. Several of her essays recount how she blunders through life without thinking—not even googling how to prepare for a climbing trip in the Ecuadorian mountains, not reading the instructions on how she should store her hormone injection ...more
Liza Fireman
This book was fine, but not that funny. The essays were uneven, and many were quite flat. I am not a huge fan of humor books, and it needs to have a special flavor for me to love them. A few that I loved are The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer and The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian by W. Kamau Bell. maybe because they have the cour ...more
Gail
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it
These essays were just so-so. Largely because, with almost every one, I found myself thinking, "Really? You really [fill in the blank, ie, kept a journal of your next-door-neighbor's comings and goings] all in the service of a story?" Too many details felt ...too perfect, and so my head kept coming out of the world Crosley was trying to paint for me.

I wondered if I was alone in my judgment and then I found this review. Bingo. Spot on.
...more
Oriana
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Sloane Crosley so, so, so much. This book is as great as any of the others; the volcano-climbing essay was a masterpiece all on its own, as was the long voyeuristic meditation on her obnoxious teenage neighbor, as was the one in the country with the swingers. What else even is there to say? If you like acerbically funny, presciently observant, zeitgeist-y women, hie thee to a Crosley. I adore her and already can't wait to read her next thing. ...more
Ann-Marie
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writing style I most admire is the humorous essay. I enjoy reading essayist of the past, Jerome K. Jerome, Mark Twain, Stephen Leacock, James Thurber, Dorothy Parker. I could go on forever.
In this day when blogging hours the line between ranting and raving and serious talent it can be hard to find a real enjoyable talent in this genre. I look for someone who can bring you in to their world even when you would ordinarily have little frame of reference for it. David Sedaris does it. So does S
...more
Allie
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Not as funny as David Sedaris, but written in the same vein, Crosley takes on subjects as diverse as obnoxious neighbors, vertigo, mountain climbing, and impersonating herself on TV. Her writing is wry, self-referential, and mainly focused on the problems of the well-educated urbanite. I found her stories amusing and relatable, but then, I’m part of the same demographic group. (In some GR reviews, people complained she was superficial and/or annoyingly privileged. Personally, I think that’s like ...more
Sarah at Sarah's Bookshelves
Thank you to FSG and Edelweiss for an advanced copy of this book.

I generally have trouble with essay collections billed as humorous. Humor is hard. I often feel like the author is trying too hard with the jokes. But, Crosley’s humor is more subtle…the kind that has me chuckling rather than LOLing (a promise of so many of these types of essay collections), which is much more up my alley. Look Alive Out There is a perfect example of what I like in my Brain Candy…light and fun, but also smart and s
...more
paperbackpeonies
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Okay, I'm just going to say it. I do not like Sloane Crosley.
This might not be fair. I've only read this one book, and from what I can tell, her other books are better.
But the Sloane Crosley in this book, the person she portrays herself to be, is kind of an asshole. And also kind of dumb.
Obviously she chose this, perhaps for the sake of "humor." But what's humorous about using your neighbor's death (a kind neighbor who gave you small gifts and flowers on a daily basis) as a punchline? Dick mov
...more
Susie | Novel Visits
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
My Thoughts: I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but Look Alive Out There is one of only a couple essay collections I’ve ever read. Prior to the last couple of years, I’d avoided both nonfiction and short stories. Essays are something of a cross between the two, so I’ve not given them much of a chance. That changed earlier this year with Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan and now I’m thrilled to add Look Alive Out There and Sloane Crosley to my growing list of essayists to follow.

I found so many
...more
Sharon
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Despite not being an author who is famous enough to be invited to do a walk on for a popular tv show, or having a distant relative who is a retired porn star, or having any desire to go mountain climbing under less than stellar (or really any) circumstances, it's amazing how often Crosley manages to connect with the average reader.
Alternating moments of "I can't believe that happened to her" with "I could completely see that happening to me", I laughed out loud and enjoyed every moment of this
...more
Nicholle
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
According to Goodreads, I must have enjoyed the last Sloane Crosley book I read - I honestly don't remember anything about it, but 4 stars for me is at least "pretty good".

I can't give this one even a 3 star rating. The essays weren't funny or even that interesting. I didn't have any empathy for Sloane, even though I wanted to like her. The writing was clunky at times. What should have been a 2 or 3 day read for me took much longer. I just wasn't motivated to pick it up.

That said, I'm thankful t
...more
Alexis
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Maybe I am biased, as I Was Told There'd Be Cake was one of the formative books of my young adult life, positing Sloane as my literary drunk aunt or someone like that-- but to be fair, holding her previous works to such regard made me nervous to read Look Alive Out There because what is she failed me?!? Nonetheless, Sloane did it again: 240 pages of essays that made me cry from both laughter and sentiment; often, both at the same time. This book is a tribute to the ways in which the ordinary hap ...more
Megan
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
You know how the first couple seasons of a Housewives franchise are the best - before they are “famous” and argue about cookbook deals and branding? That’s how I feel now about Sloane - she was great before she became famous. Now she writes about being a guest star on gossip girl and researching a novel in France.
Lisa
Nov 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
I don’t see a reason for this collection of 16 essays to have been published. Nothing’s going on here and there is no point. The author is basically writing about what a ditzy privileged person she is. It’s annoying to me.
Andrew
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful collection of Sloane Crosley essays. I snort/laughed many times while listening to her read her audiobook.
Such a treasure of a writer!
5 stars!
Chaitra
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, humor, essay
Some of the essays were great, especially the last one where Sloane deals with a ticking biological clock and the one about her neighbor Jared the jerk. Some were so-so. And after reading a couple of them, I went huh? Being a recent non-fiction convert, I had no idea who she is, so I'm not sure if her previous book was better. But on the whole it wasn't bad. The last line of the book was a killer (I'm OC and have to read unrelated stories or essays in alphabetical order, so it was kind of ruined ...more
Molly
Sloane Crosley is still hilarious. This collection started off a little rough for me, as I wasn't sure what to make of all the complaints about her raucous teenage neighbors - but she manages to turn the essay into something funny and bittersweet all at once. I don't know that it's outdone I Was Told There'd Be Cake for me, but it was certainly an enjoyable collection.

I received access to this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Scottsdale Public Library
I found Sloane Crosley’s 2008, "I Was Told There’d Be Cake" funny and under-rated, a then undiscovered among the slender humorist niche. Now a contender of Laurie Notaro and David Sedaris, her latest book of essays wowed me. She has honed her craft with “Up the down Volcano” which had me laughing out loud, and in “Outside Voices” she tackles noisy hipster neighbors with cunning sharpened from mild obsession. A perfect pick up and put down book for any summer vacation! -Lisanne E.
Jordan
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
sadly, i was a bit disappointed with this collection of essays. ‘Up the Down Volcano’ made me want to throw this book across the room. a few others were a bit boring, lacked the charm that i remembered from Crosley’s other essays & just didn’t spark any interest for me. on the plus side, i laughed so much! Sloane knows where to throw in a laughable line. a few topics were: her cameo on Gossip Girl, neighbors in New York, freezing her eggs & having her website domain stolen. ...more
Madison Stubblefield
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
good neighborly advice
Ruth
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
This was my first read by Crosley and her tone was not for me. The writing felt smug and self congratulatory, and many of the punch lines felt engineered past funny into overworked territory. Some parts were fun, but I elected to not finish because this year I’ve decided to try putting down a book when I don’t like it enough to finish.
Booktart
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays
I always feel somewhat disappointed when I finish a Sloane Crosley collection - I always want more! I didn’t love all of the essays in here but many are excellent, particularly the last one, “The Doctor is a Woman.” I think what I like so much about Crosley’s writing is her ability to put into words the feelings and nuances of daily life that everyone can relate to.
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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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