Kyle's Reviews > How Did You Get This Number

How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley
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's review
Aug 10, 2010

really liked it
Read from October 22 to 27, 2010

Dear Mr. Allen:

I regret to inform you that you that your request to use parts of Ms. Crosley’s book for your new upcoming film “Self-Referencing, Quirky Post-Modern Romantic Comedy” has been denied.

Please try to understand. Ms. Crosley’s work, while defiantly New York-style comedy, is a new voice of wavering confidence and comedy for a new generation of writer-types who can laugh about their lives and not just at them. Life is sometimes upsetting and awkward, but it is also silly! She understands that it’s okay to actually laugh at parts of her narrative rather than just commiserate with the ridiculousness of how, of course it does, an event turns out. When she does use self-deprecating humor, she doesn’t debase herself all the time, nor does she pick on others. Her New York is a place of strange but understandable people who just let the reader laugh at Ms. Crosley’s observations and reactions to the world.

She does wander off to asides and needless background that feels like word count padding now and again, but she usually brings the story distinctly into focus with her comedy, and even sometimes can build on the original idea with those asides (though admittedly it’s hit-and-miss there). Her tendency to slight melodrama is more the product of her conversational tone than anything – her voice comes through clean and strong even as she wiggles around the uncertainty of finding a new apartment, of filling said apartment with furniture of dubious origins, of being the “other woman.”

Her stories can make a reader actually laugh out loud, a difficult accomplishment for a medium so quiet. She finds her silliness not only in New York, but in Portugal, Paris, and Alaska, at ursine wedding interlopers, chance bathroom high school reunions, and misguided childhood menageries. Even the book cover can make readers laugh for no reason whatsoever. When she makes cultural references, she doesn’t reach for random 80s tropes but pick specific jokes that fit without making it obvious.

In sum, she can tell good stories as well as make people laugh in a way that other New Yorkers have failed to do.

So please stop sending your script rewrites. The repeated “Annie Hall” references are not helping.

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Reading Progress

10/22/2010 page 65

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