University Book Store 6-23-10
I don't care for books with collections of essays. Erma Bombeck, Andy Rooney Charles Osgood all have a place in the heart of American culture but really the entertainment value and cultural contribution is lost on me. Kind of like "Sex and the City" or "Real Wives XXX" is lost on me so perhaps I have a blind spot. Hmm?
It still didn't stop me from listening to Sloane Crosley.
A few back her book “I Was Told There'd Be Cake" was found in the hands of co-eds on college campuses and coffee shops all around the country and tonight she came to Seattle with her second book "How Did You Get This Number"
I read most of her first book (“Oh you just have to read this” a friend said) and was not overly impressed. This is not a book reiview, however, it is a review of the author reading.
University Book Store was packed with the exact demographic the witty Ms Crosley finds herself; young post graduate, struggling women in the wake of a 2nd generation post feminist era. I was one of the few males in the room not in attendance with a female companion and defiantly one of only three people born before 1970.
The woman is funny as I listened I realized that when Ms. Sloane's read's aloud the humor comes alive. She is extremely pleasant both on stage and one on one during the signing with her multitude of fans. When Andy Rooney dies, because he won’t retire, CBS could do worse than Ms Crosley as a replacement.
She read one of her essays. A LONG essay which ate up most of the time, then jump right to the Q&A portion to her young fans.
After a few empty, softball, audience questions lacking poignancy. "Sloan what do you like to read? Sloane what side of your family do you get your humor?” (DAMN IT.)
I hit her with a solid right and found out that Sloan Crosley’s wit and charm is as effective a counter punch as Roberto Duran.
Me: "As an essayist, how do you balance being honest in your writing with the fact that it might alienate the people you write about?"
SC: (Smiling and sharp) "Oooh, I like how those are the only two options that you give me to work with?"
It was funny and the crowd laughed with me.
Still she answered the tough question. Ms. Crosley spoke of once having written some unkind things about a girlfriend's man. Of course they went on to get married and as Sloane said "I didn't anticipate that friendship ending that way."
You could see it was honest if not a tender spot. She also said that she believed the responsibility was on the reader (no elaboration on that statement) and never reveals personal details of the individuals she writes about.
Actually the burden sits directly on the essayist: to be honest about family or friends, bosses, or yourself means to reveal to the world, leaving the author vulnerable to pay the private cost.
For the most part, Ms. Sloane’s essays were innocuous and respectful the same way she came across, making for an entertaining evening.