You Think It, It'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld

You Think It, It'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld

You Think It I'll Say It.jpg

You Think It, I'll Say It
by Curtis Sittenfeld
Random House (April 23, 2018)
223 pages
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. 

Actually, what she remembers from their courtship is dinners at a not very good Mexican restaurant near campus, during which she could tell that he was trying to seem smart to her in exactly the way that she was trying to seem smart to him. Maybe for them that was passion?

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. 

It would be easy for me to be horrified by who I was more than twenty years ago, how ignorant, but I don’t see what purpose it would serve. I’m relieved to have aged out of that visceral sense that my primary obligation is to be pretty, relieved to work at a job that allows me to feel useful.

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! 

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