I recently finished I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley. It’s a collection of essays about living and working in New York. Three guesses why it resonated with me…

In all seriousness though, despite the fact that Crosley’s life bears no resemblance to mine beyond the city we live in, I felt like her experiences were mine, like she spoke with my voice. Perhaps she just captures that post-adolescent awkwardness and anxiety so perfectly that any woman of this generation will see herself reflected in these pages. The writing is good, but I doubt that’s it.

Though the stories are very different, I can’t help but draw certain parallels between I Was Told There’d Be Cake and Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Both are raw and wry and perhaps too-true  (or mostly-true) for some people, but they show the flaws of humanity that make me realize that I’m not the only crazy neurotic person out there, and I appreciate that. Also, they’re hilarious.

I often think we read books when we’re meant to, and that was certainly the case this time around. I think that I still would have enjoyed it if I read it at another point in my life, but right now it’s extremely fitting.

The one thing that bothers me about this book: the title is I was Told There’d Be Cake, yet there are no references to it that I can recall within the text. Maybe that’s the joke?

Either way, this book is definitely worth a read. It’s funny, it’s real, there are ponies. What more could you want (besides cake)?

Words of Wisdom and a Cat

November 10, 2012

Hello again. Today I’m going to share with you a piece of hard-earned wisdom: Do not attempt to move during a hurricane. Furthermore, always check the weather before booking anything that involves transporting all your worldly possessions from one point to another. Even if those points are only a few blocks away from each other.

In case any of you were wondering how I fared during Sandy, I came out physically unscathed. Emotionally… well, that’s another thing entirely.

I live in Harlem, which is kind of on a hill, so did not experience any of the dreadful flooding. Power lines in New York are underground, (which is generally a good idea except in cases of sever flooding as water and electricity tend to not get along) and so my power remained intact as well. I was supposed to move into my new apartment the day before Sandy made landfall. Clearly, that did not happen. The leasing office was closed so I couldn’t pick up my keys and even if I could have, the movers might not have been able to get to my place to help move everything over. Once the storm had passed, the movers had to reschedule everyone and could no longer fit me in before the day I had to be out of my new apartment, so we were on to Plan B (or C… we’d lost track at that point) — rent a UHaul and hire movers without a truck to help us lug the boxes and take apart my shoddily constructed Ikea bed. It worked. I moved. Huzzah. But I spent the entire hurricane in a whirlwind of anxiety trying to make sure I would be able to move.

Obviously my tale of anxiety is nothing compared to the huge number of people who lost their homes, possessions, and loved ones as a direct result of the hurricane. I was incredibly lucky that I was merely inconvenienced by this storm and lost a week of school in the deal, but two weeks after the fact there are still people who are suffering and homeless. A woman’s two young sons were out of her arms in the flood waters and no one would stop to help her look for them for hours. In times like this we should be coming together to reconcile our differences. It’s not about politics. It’s about humanity.

In that week-long gap where everything seemed to be in limbo — lower-Manhattan looked like a post-apocalyptic world — and school was still closed due to lack of power, I got a cat.

The plan has always been move to New York, go to library school, get a cat. Well, that’s the simplified plan. So far, things are falling nicely into place. Yes, I realize I am a stereotype. At this point, I’m kind of OK with it.

I know I owe you reviews. Right now I’m going to pull the “hurricane” and “I had no internet in my new apartment until today” cards. It’ll happen eventually. Or I’ll distract you with cute cat photos until you forget I’m supposed to be writing book reviews. Either way…