You Think It, It'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld
You Think It, I'll Say It
by Curtis Sittenfeld
Random House (April 23, 2018)
Advance copy provided by publisher
After reading her debut novel Prep, back in 2005, I became a fast fan of Curtis Sittenfeld's work; she is one of my must-buy authors. Additionally, I have come to love well-written short stories; this combination had me giddy and I am happy to report that this may be some of her best writing yet.
In this collection, Sittenfeld tackles topics that feel extremely relevant - gender roles, relationship struggles, class division, social media - in the witty, sarcastic, yet also thoughtful and reflective, way that only she can; it's that midwestern spark that creates such relatable, authentic characters and storytelling and, this time around, she highlights the fears, insecurities and challenges of (mostly) middle-aged women who are reaching that point when we no longer feel as desirable as we used to and find solace in some of the most complicated spaces.
Even though I do not have children, one of my favorite stories is titled "Bad Latch;" the narrator encounters a women during a pre-natal yoga class then, later, in a post-natal breastfeeding support group, who is very smug and presents with a "better than" attitude. After some time has passed, the narrator encounters smug mom again but, this time, smug mom's circumstances have changed significantly and they end up building an authentic relationship.
My very favorite story of the collection is "Vox Clamantis in Deserto;" the narrator describes her early days at Dartmouth, as she becomes best friends with a young woman she idolized upon her arrival, and then goes on to reveal how their rather complicated relationship went on to inform some of her later decisions. Looking back on those experiences helps her acknowledge how grateful she is for the way in which her life has progressed, years later.
If you don't already read short stories, you should; I feel the same way about the work of Curtis Sittenfeld. This is a perfect introduction to both, if you're new to them; I'll be recommending You Think It, I'll Say It for years to come!