My Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A suburban mother of two fantasizes about the downfall of an old friend whose wholesome lifestyle empire may or may not be built on a lie. A high-powered lawyer honeymooning with her husband is caught off guard by the appearance of the girl who tormented her in high school. A shy Ivy League student learns the truth about a classmate’s seemingly enviable life.
Curtis Sittenfeld has established a reputation as a sharp chronicler of the modern age who humanizes her subjects even as she skewers them. Now, with this first collection of short fiction, her “astonishing gift for creating characters that take up residence in readers’ heads” (The Washington Post) is showcased like never before. Throughout the ten stories in You Think It, I’ll Say It, Sittenfeld upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided.
With moving insight and uncanny precision, Curtis Sittenfeld pinpoints the questionable decisions, missed connections, and sometimes extraordinary coincidences that make up a life. Indeed, she writes what we’re all thinking—if only we could express it with the wit of a master satirist, the storytelling gifts of an old-fashioned raconteur, and the vision of an American original.
I was honestly surprised with how much I enjoyed reading each and every story in this collection. Usually, I find that one or two short stories really stand out and the rest are mediocre. But every story in Sittenfeld’s collection deserved to be there. I found myself reflecting on moments and characters days after finishing a story. If you’ve heard anything about this collection, you’ve likely heard great things about “The Prairie Wife.” And let me tell you, that story absolutely lives up to the hype. A few stories touch on the shifting dynamics after the 2016 election and the increasing usage of social media. Sittenfeld’s stories are relevant and therefore useful for reflection. And believe me, you’ll continue to reflect on this short story collection for days after.
Additionally, I thought that every story fit with the title of this collection: You Think It, I’ll Say It. These stories are about the negative thoughts we entertain about ourselves and each other. These stories follow the negative thoughts we have on a daily basis about normal experiences. Sittenfeld writes realistically about jealousy, envy, boredom, despair, and affairs. And as much as you won’t want to admit it, you’ll find yourself and people you know in the pages of this collection. I also appreciate that Sittenfeld continues to write about the white middle class. This is clearly the demographic Sittenfeld knows well and is able to write honestly, even painfully so at times.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed these stories and how much I’m still thinking about them days later. This was the May selection for Reese Witherspoon’s book club and I’m not sure if I would have picked it up otherwise, but I’m very glad I did! I would highly recommend this book, regardless of whether or not you’ve read Sittenfeld’s novels.
This book is…
full of interesting characters
Publisher: Random House
Genre: short stories
Page Count: 223
Available here from IndieBound.
Have you read You Think It, I’ll Say It? What short story collection would you recommend?