Bookreview: Sloane Crosley – How did you get this number?


You know that feeling that you sometimes get after finishing a ridiculously good book? A combination of homesickness, since you want to get back to live the life of the main character, and addict-like roaming the internet to find out where you can get your next fix of writing by the same author.

I had that with Sloane Crosley’s first essay bundle: I was told there’d be cake.  I seldom encounter a writer who so effortlessly meanders through different adventures – big and small – whilst at the same time weaving in some musings about life in general. I got totally caught up in the book and finished it in one day.

Ok, so I neede more of this. Quick. I ordered her second bundle; How did you get this number. When it arrived I devoured it as if I were a lion spotting a gazelle in an empty desert.

Sloane again writes about life, about her international travels, and throughout the book shares with you her seemingly constant outbursts self-awareness and weirdness, but in a good way. Like this passage:

“As I followed her up the stairs, I thought of how strange it is to follow anyone up the stairs. Your face is so close to their butt. It’s one of the unsung pleasures of riding in cabs – I have seen very little cabbie ass in my life. Whereas my fellow subway riders’ cheeks are thrust, shifting back and forth, in front of me every day, countless as stars.” (p62)

or this one:

“I didn’t do any of those things in Paris (reasons to be banished from a city -A). I loved Paris. Which is why it’s especially painful knowing that, like a boarding school reject, I will not be ‘asked back’ anytime soon. Though I was not formally banished, Paris has made it clear that it would prefer to continue on in its Frenchness sans moi.” (p184)

She is a master in witty comparisons as is for example shown in this passage:

“Every New Yorker’s personal annoyance scale is best pictured as a cell phone commercial. The semipermeable bars of varying colors and heights extend up from people’s heads as they move along the sidewalk. One person finds an open-air cigar smoker more irritating than a skill-less subway performer. Another considers the person who mistakes a subway pole for a full-body pillow during rush hour exponentially worse than a taxicab keeping its overhead lights aglow despite being occupied.” (p 79)

Sometimes, though, these comparisons and in-between-musings caused me to have my mind wonder off to my own life. Which of course is very interesting… But the comparisons felt a bit overdone from time to time. A feeling I hadn’t had with her first book. Despite that, I had a blast reading ‘How did you get this number’.

Sloane Crosley’s style is one of my favorite. A mix of real life stories, weirdness (a bit Miranda July-like), and all of that told in an almost comedian-like style. So yes, I would definitely recommend you read one of her books. If you have little time, pick ‘I was told there’d be cake’, since in my opinion this shows best what a literary talent Crosley is.

Have you ever read something by Sloane Crosley?

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  1. Oh, die titels, vooral die eerste, geweldig! Ik ken(de) haar niet, maar ben nu wel heel benieuwd en ga haar naam zeker onthouden!

  2. Nee, kende haar niet! Zeker iets om te onthouden!
    Haha, als ik het einde van een boek nader begin ik vaak steeds langzamer en langzamer te lezen… (O nee! Straks is ie uit! Slowww down!)

    • haha! Ja dat herken ik helemaal, zo werkt dat ook bij mij. Alhoewel…Soms ben je gewoon te nieuwsgierig om langzamer te gaan lezen.

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