Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Quick Pick book review: You Think It, I'll Say It, by Curtis Sittenfeld

  • Opening lines: (Gender Studies)
    Nell and Henry always said that they would wait until marriage was legal for everyone in America, and now this is the case—it's August 2015—but earlier in the week Henry eloped with his graduate student Bridget. Bridget is twenty-three, moderately but not dramatically attractive (one of the few nonstereotypical aspects of the situation, Nell thinks, is Bridget's lack of dramatic attractiveness), and Henry and Bridget had been dating for six months. They began having an affair last winter, when Henry and Nell were still together; then in April, Henry moved out of the house he and Nell own and directly into Bridget's apartment. Nell and Henry had been a couple for eleven years.
  • Reason I picked up the book: Curtis Sittenfeld is one of my favorite authors - even though I don't usually read short stories, I knew if she was the author of them then the collection had to be good. 
  • And what's this book about?
  • Curtis Sittenfeld has established a reputation as a sharp chronicler of the modern age who humanizes her subjects even as she skewers them. Now, with this first collection of short fiction, her “astonishing gift for creating characters that take up residence in readers’ heads” (The Washington Post) is showcased like never before.

    Throughout the ten stories in You Think It, I’ll Say It, Sittenfeld upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided. In “The World Has Many Butterflies,” married acquaintances play a strangely intimate game with devastating consequences. In “Vox Clamantis in Deserto,” a shy Ivy League student learns the truth about a classmate’s seemingly enviable life. In “A Regular Couple,” a high-powered lawyer honeymooning with her husband is caught off guard by the appearance of the girl who tormented her in high school. And in “The Prairie Wife,” a suburban mother of two fantasizes about the downfall of an old friend whose wholesome lifestyle empire may or may not be built on a lie.

    With moving insight and uncanny precision, Curtis Sittenfeld pinpoints the questionable decisions, missed connections, and sometimes extraordinary coincidences that make up a life. Indeed, she writes what we’re all thinking—if only we could express it with the wit of a master satirist, the storytelling gifts of an old-fashioned raconteur, and the vision of an American original.

  • Recommended for: Anyone who likes short stories, also anyone who enjoys a good stor(ies) in general.
  • Favorite paragraph: There was a rule Clay's mother had about dessert, which was that she couldn't seek it out but if it landed in front of her, she could indulge; not that it would have made his mother proud, but Clay had the same rule about Jenny.
  • Something to know: I'm a huge fan of Sittenfeld's other books - I reviewed Eligible, and both American Wife and Prep were great.
  • What I would have changed: Nothing.
  • Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. 
  • Where can I find this book? Click here to order on Amazon - it was just released yesterday, on April 24th.
*Disclosure: I received an e-galley of this book from NetGalley, for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

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