Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Girls in New York: Double Review: I Was Told There'd Be Cake and Brooklyn Girls

I've been living in the glittering city of Seattle for a little over three years now, which makes me feel like I have a lot in common with some of the very funny women I see in TV today, who happen to share an affinity for their own metropolis of origin. 

Are you a Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, or Miranda? Or, more importantly, are you more Broad City than Sex in the City

Then here are a couple of reads that might appeal to you! (btw, Cosmopolitan has dictated that I'm a Charlotte. Just for future reference.) 

2195289I Was Told There'd Be Cake, by Sloane Crosley, is a series of essays, spelling out her misadventures in early adulthood in NYC, from learning the ropes at a new job with a hellbeast boss, to experiencing one of the worst Moving Days of her life, and everything in between. This peek at the life of a twenty-something still trying to get her bearings in a city that never stops moving, highlights everything from dating disasters to early-onset nostalgia to reflecting on her family's Twin Peaks habit.

From her very first essay - detailing her innate embarrassment over a steadily-growing collection of plastic ponies as a result of mentally-ingrained sarcasm reflexes - I knew I was going to enjoy this book. Highlighting Crosley's job disasters and friendship disasters and disasters of all shapes and sizes, I will always deeply appreciate the funny women we've got in current media, who do their best to show you that even if you mess up, it's because everyone's already a mess. 

There's that subset of uniquely funny New York-ian writers who skewer the city with a sarcastic female bent. The genre has done a lot of growing since Sex and the City... thank God for those brassy broads and daring dames a la Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, and the women who've been raised on that kind of humor. I'm glad we have women who have altered this focal point from one of glance-askance glamour and inherent chic-ness, to the kind of relatable dropped-the-birthday-cake humans that are available at more of the world's metropolises instead of just the Big Apple.

Overall, this is one of the good ones. Uproariously funny and relatable - not because you've gone through these kinds of problems, but because you can totally imagine that kind of thing happening to you or your friends - Sloane Crosley's I Was Told There'd Be Cake is amazing.

Final Verdict: If you're a fan of Amy Schumer's movie Trainwreck, you'd like this book.

On the other hand, we've got Gemma Burgess' Brooklyn Girls: the first in a ficional series, about a group of girls who've come into an NYC brownstone, trying to make their own way without losing a heel. This first installment, following the bread crumb trail of scattered Captain Morgan bottles and ill-advised Facebook pics of attempting-to-reform party princess Pia, involves a dilapidated food truck, skinny salad lunches, and a Smart Water-drinking loan shark. 

Like I Was Told There'd Be Cake, there's quite a bit of references to contemporary New Adult-typified circumstances - like trying to differentiate yourself from your parents after college, or contending with competitive job processes - but without any of the raunchy romantics that usually coincide with that particular fiction genre. Instead, we have a mysterious British Prince Charming-type figure, who is conveniently placed at specific points along Pia's journey and is just constantly bumping into her, which, I'm sure, always happens in New York. Right?

This is not a very good book to read when you're hungry, because, true to twenty-something life, a lot of what these girls do is eat food. Like I said, the primary plot of the novel involves the creation of a "skinny salad" food truck, and while that hardly sounds delicious in the slightest, there are plenty of other food truck shenanigans, as well as group dinners of sushi, copious amounts of Italian food, etc. to remind you you've not eaten since that KIND bar you called lunch.

While the general business model of owning and operating a food truck was pretty realistically spelled out, the processes by which Pia manages the actual business of doing business are not: from making deals with a loan shark in order to spontaneously buy a food truck which she is able to fix up and take on the road in a manner of days, which turns out to not only be a miracle success, but something she is able to parlay, by the novel's happy ending, into an incredibly lucrative corporate career? It's a New York Dream, start to finish.

Final Verdict: Jon Favrea's 2014 indie food truck fiesta Chef, this is not. However, it is a hot dish of fun food and city shenanigans for the single girl, complete with a happily ever after at the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment