I cannot deny it, I will hold my hands up and admit it, I bought this book 90% because of the title. And the next 9% because of the cover. I could say that I was interested in the blurb, that I’ve recently got more into non-fiction, that I thought the idea of short essays I could dip in and out of would be a nice change but nope, it was purely shallow reasons.
And I wouldn’t say it has taught me a lesson about judging a book by it’s title because I did enjoy the book a medium amount but it didn’t live up to my expectations. Unfortunately the title is still the most entertaining thing about the whole book.
Before I bought this book I had absolutely no idea who Sloane Crosley was. And all the enlightenment I got from reading it is that she’s a journalist and the author of the cover story for the worst-selling issue of Maxim in the magazine’s history. Which did appeal to me as I like a bit of self-deprecation. I have since googled her and discovered that the book was a US bestseller, optioned for a TV series and she appeared as herself in an episode of Gossip Girl, which must mean she’s reasonably famous, despite the Maxim mishap.
The book is a collection of fifteen essays focussing mostly on her time living in New York – dinner parties, horrendous bosses, locking yourself out of two different apartments on the same day – with a few anecdotes about her childhood being brought up Jewish in Westchester, New York thrown in for good measure.
I can’t say that I regret the time spent reading this book because it was easy to get through, so much so that I had it finished in a matter of days, it helped in someway to get me out of the reading slump I had been in and there were a couple of bits towards the end that made me properly giggle. But I did have to get all the way to the end of the book to find them.
I think the main problem I had with this book was that I didn’t actually find her that funny. When she did make a joke, a purposefully funny sentence, you had to really put in some effort to work out why it was funny. Which isn’t how I like my humour. If it takes 30 seconds of thinking before you actually laugh then it wasn’t worth it. Maybe our senses of humour just don’t overlap that much. Or we don’t have the same kind of thought processes. Or she was trying too hard to be clever.
She was pretty cooky and off-the-wall which I’d expect would make her someone I’d really like but something about Sloane just didn’t click with me. And I’ve been trying to put my finger on what it was and the word that comes to mind is inauthentic. She can write as many anecdotes she likes about being bad at jobs, or quitting volunteering after less than a month, or being a terrible cook, but when it comes down to it she is a hugely successful journalist (or so Wikipedia suggests) at a very young age. And the two sides just don’t marry up. It’s almost like she was forcing herself to be relatable – look I’ve dated loads of losers, I’m just like you!
Well Sloane Crosley, I’m afraid you’re not just like me. I wouldn’t have minded if you hadn’t been trying so hard to convince me otherwise. And even that I could have forgiven though, if you’d just been that bit funnier.