I Was Told There'd Be Cake, By Sloane Crosley

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The Independent Culture

What's in a name? For Sloane Crosley, both burden and liberation; as a child she disdains her name for its oddness, but as a young adult seeking to distinguish herself from humdrum suburban existence, welcomes it as a mark of originality.

In these quirky essays, Sloane Crosley wryly depicts her twentysomething life as she searches for an identity, moving from comfortable childhood into the faltering steps of early adulthood in detailed portraits of her first summer camp, first job and first love. In a vividly evoked New York, she struggles to find her literal and metaphorical bearings, navigating its bewildering maze of streets and social networks of business and pleasure.

The essays follow an engaging if predictable trajectory, beginning with wide-eyed hope and enthusiasm before, in a series of skilful narrative twists and turns, optimism is tempered by disappointing realities. The title reveals with refreshing candour the pain of growing up; of learning that it's not always possible to have your cake and eat it. It is a realisation that Crosley uses humour and self-deprecation to cope with.

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