Look Alive Out There by Sloan Crosley


I was lucky enough to receive this book from the wonderful people over at MCD/Farrar Straus and Giroux. I had been intrigued by the buzz I was hearing on it but also it seemed to be the kind of book I was looking for at the time; a light and witty read about relatable moments in life. Sure enough, it filled the need wonderfully.

In this late essay collection by Manhattan-based writer, Sloane Crosley, you get the wit and humor she’s known for, yet something different than from her previous collections. However, I should say, I had to go out and get her previous collection of essays I Was Told There’d Be Cake, to feel confident making that statement.

In this collection you get the sense of a woman who is beginning to feel her age. Each essay had a situation which in some way reflected that, which for me made it a bit hard to relate to, since I’m still at the age where I’m too unaware of age, really, lol. However, that’s what Crosley is good at, getting anyone hooked on whatever she’s putting out there! Even though I didn’t always relate to her situation, I most certainly was entertained and engaged in her life moments.

My personal favorite was the second essay, Outside Voices, where Crosley ends up obsessed with the boy living next door, not because of anything pervy but simply because her apartment windows overlook the family next door’s backyard, in which this teenage boy spends most of his time in. All the sounds that come from the backyard she is able to hear clearly, therefore, in a way over time she pretty much becomes an expert on this kid’s life. In many instances, she even acknowledges how this kid is making her an old person before her time, but an idea, which she finally truly faces when the kid goes off to college. That was a hilarious and deep essay, though it may not seem deep while you’re reading it but it’ll definitely hit you after.

What I, especially, found impressive about this collection was how different each essay was with length and topics, yet it all felt connected. I know that’s the strength of Crosley and the consistency of her writing style. Something that lead me to pick up the collection she’s most known for, I Was Told There’d Be Cake from April 1st, 2008, nearly exactly ten years ago.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is familiar with or a fan of Crosley’s previous work. If you’re not then, I’d only recommend this if you’re in need of a feel good book with some substantial mini life lessons ingrained in there. 🙂

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