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Cult Classic by Sloane Crosley

Some novels you want to like, but just can’t get into. They promise so much, and often include words like ‘hilarious’ and ‘riveting’ in the marketing in an attempt to draw in the punter. The truth is, this was one of those books - at least for me. Sloane Crosley is a talented writer, there can be no doubt about that. Her contributions to essay writing alone stands her in great stead for being memorable and effective in the art of writing. As a New York Times bestselling author, it is challenging to criticise too much, especially if one compares their own literary achievements with hers.

In reading the book, there were passages read out to friends, extracts pulled apart to close read - in case missing something, then searching for these ‘hilarious’ moments. But they never arrived. Some parts are clearly attempts to be humorous, but they fall short - perhaps because I am a male, perhaps because I live in a world quite different from the world of New York, or perhaps because I read it - rather than listened to the nuances that may be able to be derived from an audiobook.

The plot is challenging, and rather surrealist in approach. It simultaneously looks at the journey of relationships in the modern era, and then intertwines some of the technological elements. It is a plot, but also not much of a plot. It felt as if the text really rests its laurels on the hope of providing entertainment through the humour.

Really, Crosley writes about closure in relationships. Trying to find a way to move on from previous relationships in a healthy and effective way, and I guess this is where the humour comes in - relatable premises for those who are struggling with such situations. Looking at past relationships with an objective eye and trying to decipher the ins and outs of the individuals who held such a place in her life for a short time.

Writing wise, Crosley is superb. She knows how to put a sentence together and to retain the interest of the reader. If only the plot had lived up to the hype and the expectations then it would have been a cracker of a text. It is as if she has focused on the trees (the sentence construction) with a loss of perspective of the forest (the plot and overall trajectory).

It definitely peeters out towards the end, again hoping that the momentum of the humour may make the reader continue. But it is a struggling to finish.

I wanted to like this one. And, perhaps this review should be taken with a grain of salt. There is every likelihood that others (perhaps in a similar dating situation to the protagonist) may find this entertaining, enthralling and even consistent to the end. Unfortunately I am not in that demographic.

Reviewer: Chris Reed



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