I Was Told There’d Be Cake

With the family gatherings required by the holidays now past or postponed due to weather, I’ve turned toward my second winter break past time – catching up on the reading that I’ve meant to do the rest of the year. Sloane Crosley’s I Was Told There’d Be Cake arrived at the top of my stack, as the most recent book club selection and an appropriate subject given the healthy dose of eating in recent weeks. As the title suggests, the book of essays meets the basic requirements of light reading, but leaves something to be desired. It’s not overly sweet, but peppered with sarcasm and wit.

Crosley approaches most essays from the stance of telling family secrets, usually her own, but they turn out to be no more sinister than a few dozen plastic ponies hidden under the kitchen sink. The eccentric collection of stories occupies a similar space, ranging from summer camp to first apartments, all complete with crazy characters. She handles small problems in unusual ways, with potentially catastrophic consequences, but when the inevitable doesn’t occur, the end becomes endearing.

The personal essays remain relatable, and therein lies their strength. They make no claims to be for everyone. But for a twenty-something writer who is finding her voice, they provide a taste for more to come.

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