cover image How Did You Get This Number: Essays

How Did You Get This Number: Essays

Sloane Crosley, . . Riverhead, $24.95 (274pp) ISBN 978-1-59448-759-0

Nine thoughtful, unfussy essays by the author of the collection I Was Told There'd Be Cake navigate around illusions of youth in the hope that by young adulthood they'll “all add up to happiness.” The account of Crosley's footloose adventure to Lisbon on the eve of her 30th birthday starts things off in rollicking fashion in “Show Me on the Doll”: without proficient language skills, getting hopelessly lost in the labyrinth of Bairro Alto, and panicking in front of the myriad QVC channels offered by her hotel, Crosley recognizes that Lisbon “was a place with a painfully disproportionate self-reflection-to-experience ratio.” There is the requisite essay about moving to New York and replacing her anorexic-kleptomaniac roommate with a more acceptable living arrangement: in Crosley's case, delineated in “Take a Stab at It,” she is interviewed by the creepily disembodied current occupier of a famous former brothel on the Bowery, McGurk's Suicide Hall. As well, Crosley delivers witty, syncopated takes on visiting Alaska and Paris, and finding much consolation from a two-timing heartbreak in New York by buying stolen items from her “upholstery guy,” Daryl, who found them fallen “Off the Back of a Truck,” as the delightful last selection is titled. These essays are fresh, funny, and eager to be loved. (June)