I Was Told There’d Be Cake

Fantastically funny collection of short stories by a powerhouse writer who rocks the first line test. For example, “The second I was old enough to know what sex was, I knew I wanted to have a one-night stand.” This is the lead sentence of One-Night Bounce, a story midway through the collection. The story goes on to detail her perception of what a one-night stand was:

I figured a one-night stand happened when two people, one of whom was a woman, went to a man’s apartment for martinis and stood on the bed the entire time, trying not to spill them. Sometimes they bounced on the bed until they hit their heads on the ceiling, and that’s how the girl (a) passed out or (b) knew it was time to go home. This accounted for the sound of mattress springs creaking as well as any exhaustion the next morning. It was how hair became tousled. (p 99)

Crosley leads us on a journey down her rabbit hole, giving glimpses into the life of a Manhattanite who loses her wallet 6.7 times and receives it back intact every single time. She details the horrors of working as a publishing assistant to Ursula, the world’s most charming interviewer yet the world’s most horrific boss who flings pens/manuscripts/etc. at Crosley’s head whenever she does something wrong (the story ends with Crosley baking a misshapen cookie resembling Ursula, gets sick, writes her resignation on September 10, 2001, comes into work on 9/11 and gives her notice). We follow her into summer camp where she’s unwittingly exposed to Christian songs and myths, being brainwashed into Jesus-love unbeknownst to her Jewish parents. We watch her ill-fated move to a new apartment 5 blocks away with multiple calls to a locksmith. We cringe as a childhood friend she hasn’t spoken to in a decade calls her up to ask her to be a bridesmaid (another great first line: “There are two kinds of people in this world: those who know where their high school yearbook is and those who do not.”)
More good stuff from the bridesmaid story:

I watched my cell phone seizure with the unregistered display of a 617 area code. Boston? I thought, Who the hell is calling me from Boston?
‘Hi Sloane! It’s Francine,’ she chirped.
I responded with the same degree of skepticism I use for people with clipboards who employ familiarity as a means to get me to sign petitions.
‘Sloane, it’s Francine.’
My mental Rolodex began to spin. Bingo. Francine Davis, Class of ’96, Latin Club President, Video Yearbook, pot yes, liquor no.

‘Hey there.’ I cleared my throat. ‘How are you?’
‘I’m engaged!’
Incidentally, this is an unacceptable answer to that question.

The bridal story was clearly my favorite (You on a Stick). The bride declares to the group that she is not taking the groom’s last name, and giving up her own last name so they both become Mr. & Mrs. Universe. Crosley begins to laugh uncontrollably, but then discovers a secret that can keep her sane throughout the rest of the experience– her “friend’s” initials are now F.U.
She ends the story collection strongly with this first section:

There are few diseases for which the cure is objectively as bad as the affliction. Cancer is one of them. Crack addiction is another. Lucky for me, I didn’t have either in the summer of 2005.

auth=Crosley, Sloane