I Was Told There'd Be Cake
By Sloane Crosley
"I have never met two people more afraid of their house burning down than my parents," writes Crosley. "Please note my parents are not afraid of burning their house down. ... To them the threat is always an outside force - a neighbor's errant flame-thrower, a burglar who smokes, or, in all likelihood, a youngest child." The essays in this exquisite collection, Crosley's first, spin around a young woman's growing up and her first experiences in a big city. The voice feels a little like Nora Ephron's, a little like Dorothy Parker's and David Sedaris', although Crosley has a spry wistfulness that's very much her own. We envy the lucky guy who found the right words to ask her for a date while she was hanging from a strap in the subway. The nightmare-boss piece, "The Ursula Cookie," is great.