Look Alive Out There
From the New York Times-bestselling author Sloane Crosley comes Look Alive Out There―a brand-new collection of essays filled with her trademark hilarity, wit, and charm. The characteristic heart and punch-packing observations are back, but with a newfound coat of maturity. A thin coat. More of a blazer, really.Fans of I Was Told There'd Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number know Sloane Crosley's life as a series of relatable but madcap misadventures. In Look Alive Out There, whether it's scaling active volcanoes, crashing shivas, playing herself on Gossip Girl, befriending swingers, or staring down the barrel of the fertility gun, Crosley continues to rise to the occasion with unmatchable nerve and electric one-liners. And as her subjects become more serious, her essays deliver not just laughs but lasting emotional heft and insight. Crosley has taken up the gauntlets thrown by her predecessors―Dorothy Parker, Nora Ephron, David Sedaris―and crafted something rare, affecting, and true.Look Alive Out There arrives on the tenth anniversary of I Was Told There'd be Cake, and Crosley's essays have managed to grow simultaneously more sophisticated and even funnier. And yet she's still very much herself, and it's great to have her back―and not a moment too soon (or late, for that matter).

Look Alive Out There Details

TitleLook Alive Out There
Author
ReleaseAug 4th, 2018
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux
Rating
GenreWriting, Essays, Nonfiction, Humor, Autobiography, Memoir, Short Stories

Look Alive Out There Review

  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't finish this one after losing steam halfway through. Crosley is an enjoyable narrator, but there were enough too-perfect details in a situation that I questioned how "real" everything was (I don't doubt the author's truthfulness, but wonder if there was a bit of creative fudging, if that makes sense). There was an urgency that felt missing in these essays — maybe Crosley's witty, sardonic voice could be better applied to more journalistic narratives rather than looking inward (not that l I didn't finish this one after losing steam halfway through. Crosley is an enjoyable narrator, but there were enough too-perfect details in a situation that I questioned how "real" everything was (I don't doubt the author's truthfulness, but wonder if there was a bit of creative fudging, if that makes sense). There was an urgency that felt missing in these essays — maybe Crosley's witty, sardonic voice could be better applied to more journalistic narratives rather than looking inward (not that looking inward is a bad thing!). I don't know. I'm conflicted. I wanted to like this more.
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  • Jamie Bernard
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve loved Sloane Crosley for a long time. She has a snarky wit about her that is unrivaled. I’m just not sure what to make of this collection of essays. Some were amazing. I especially enjoyed reading about her interactions with neighbors and a story about a relative that worked in the sex industry. Others fell flat. Her earlier works were funny because they were so relatable. I’m wondering if she has lost touch with her audience a bit? The travel essays in particular felt more like privileged I’ve loved Sloane Crosley for a long time. She has a snarky wit about her that is unrivaled. I’m just not sure what to make of this collection of essays. Some were amazing. I especially enjoyed reading about her interactions with neighbors and a story about a relative that worked in the sex industry. Others fell flat. Her earlier works were funny because they were so relatable. I’m wondering if she has lost touch with her audience a bit? The travel essays in particular felt more like privileged complaining rather than sarcasm or snark. Overall this was definitely worth the read. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself skimming some sections. This review was for a digital ARC.
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  • ns510
    January 1, 1970
    I like my essays more incisive than these, which felt more like hanging out with a hilarious friend as she shares her stories with you. There were some moments of insight, and others where her privilege seemed to colour the anecdote being shared. My favourite in this collection is probably The Grape Man.
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  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    January 1, 1970
    I’m not sure that these are essays - more like anecdotes from someone who makes stupid mistakes and then uses self-deprecating humor to get everyone to laugh about it. There are some insights here and her tone is relaxed and engaging, but over time the gag starts to wear thin.
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  • Scott
    January 1, 1970
    I was completely unfamiliar with Ms. Crosley or her previous collections of essays, but I kept seeing Look Alive Out There on the library's new release non-fic shelf so I decided to take a chance on it.Opinions will vary (just from what I've seen on Goodreads), but I really liked her relaxed style and choice / range of topics. Some of the dozen-plus pieces were short - just a page or two - but others ran 20 or 30 pages. Some were pretty funny ('Outside Voices' and 'If You Take the Canoe Out') wh I was completely unfamiliar with Ms. Crosley or her previous collections of essays, but I kept seeing Look Alive Out There on the library's new release non-fic shelf so I decided to take a chance on it.Opinions will vary (just from what I've seen on Goodreads), but I really liked her relaxed style and choice / range of topics. Some of the dozen-plus pieces were short - just a page or two - but others ran 20 or 30 pages. Some were pretty funny ('Outside Voices' and 'If You Take the Canoe Out') while others were more serious or dramatic in content ('Wolf' and 'The Doctor is a Woman'). I think Crosley is an effective storyteller, so I'm eagerly looking forward to checking our her earlier books.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Mostly enjoyable. A full star off for a particularly gross essay in which Crosley goes to Ecuador to climb a volcano she's done exactly zero research on and has done no prep for, and of course she needs to be rescued by her Ecuadorian guides, whom she complains about constantly even though they risked their lives to give her this "experience." Icky white privilege run amok.
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    Crosley’s essays have been compared to David Sedaris. I don’t see it! True, they are both a little bit neurotic and keen observers of the foibles of others, but Crosley just seems to be a little too privileged—a little too ‘Manhattan’—for me to relate to her humor. Several of her essays recount how she blunders through life without thinking—not even googling how to prepare for a climbing trip in the Ecuadorian mountains, not reading the instructions on how she should store her hormone injection Crosley’s essays have been compared to David Sedaris. I don’t see it! True, they are both a little bit neurotic and keen observers of the foibles of others, but Crosley just seems to be a little too privileged—a little too ‘Manhattan’—for me to relate to her humor. Several of her essays recount how she blunders through life without thinking—not even googling how to prepare for a climbing trip in the Ecuadorian mountains, not reading the instructions on how she should store her hormone injection medicine, and not maintaining her web domain license so she is forced to buy it back from a ‘domain thief’. Is that humorous or sad?
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  • Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to FSG and Edelweiss for an advanced copy of this book.I generally have trouble with essay collections billed as humorous. Humor is hard. I often feel like the author is trying too hard with the jokes. But, Crosley’s humor is more subtle…the kind that has me chuckling rather than LOLing (a promise of so many of these types of essay collections), which is much more up my alley. Look Alive Out There is a perfect example of what I like in my Brain Candy…light and fun, but also smart and s Thank you to FSG and Edelweiss for an advanced copy of this book.I generally have trouble with essay collections billed as humorous. Humor is hard. I often feel like the author is trying too hard with the jokes. But, Crosley’s humor is more subtle…the kind that has me chuckling rather than LOLing (a promise of so many of these types of essay collections), which is much more up my alley. Look Alive Out There is a perfect example of what I like in my Brain Candy…light and fun, but also smart and sharp. Crosley captures the ridiculousness and weirdness and occasional hilariousness of living in New York City and doesn’t hold back with the social commentary."Part of what’s interesting about living in New York is how much business you can choose to have with people who are absolutely none of your business. There’s something incongruous about how careful we are to set up boundaries, how ardent we are about maintaining them, and how quick we are to take a wrecking ball to them when it suits us. We train one another to disengage at the daily level, to greet with silent nods, to ignore music coming through the walls or tearful phone calls on the street. Yet when we want to feel we’re doing the right thing, we come swooping in with eye contact and directions."As with all essay collections, I had my favorites. The opening story, Wheels Up is quintessential New York and Relative Stranger, about her porn star cousin, is ridiculous in the greatest way. Up the Down Volcano, about her experience trying to climb a mountain in Ecuador totally unprepared, was too long and the weakest essay for me. And, yes, she does write about that cameo on Gossip Girl…wittily using her insider status in book publishing (she started as a Simon & Schuster publicist) to take apart the authenticity of her guest star scene (which was a book party).Visit https://www.sarahsbookshelves.com for more reviews.
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  • Gail
    January 1, 1970
    These essays were just so-so. Largely because, with almost every one, I found myself thinking, "Really? You really [fill in the blank, ie, kept a journal of your next-door-neighbor's comings and goings] all in the service of a story?" Too many details felt ...too perfect, and so my head kept coming out of the world Crosley was trying to paint for me. I wondered if I was alone in my judgment and then I found this review. Bingo. Spot on.
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  • Susie | Novel Visits
    January 1, 1970
    My Thoughts: I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but Look Alive Out There is one of only a couple essay collections I’ve ever read. Prior to the last couple of years, I’d avoided both nonfiction and short stories. Essays are something of a cross between the two, so I’ve not given them much of a chance. That changed earlier this year with Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan and now I’m thrilled to add Look Alive Out There and Sloane Crosley to my growing list of essayists to follow.I found so many My Thoughts: I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but Look Alive Out There is one of only a couple essay collections I’ve ever read. Prior to the last couple of years, I’d avoided both nonfiction and short stories. Essays are something of a cross between the two, so I’ve not given them much of a chance. That changed earlier this year with Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan and now I’m thrilled to add Look Alive Out There and Sloane Crosley to my growing list of essayists to follow.I found so many of Crosley’s stories just plain laugh-out-loud funny. One of my favorites involved dealing with her noisy teenage neighbor, Jared. Haven’t we all had a Jared in our lives? Crosley’s trip to Ecuador and her ill-conceived attempt to climb Mt. Cotopaxi was another story I could relate to. I’ve Been to Ecuador, so both laughed at and admired Crosley’s fool-hearted mountain climbing adventure. As a blogger, I had to appreciate and cringe listening to Crosley’s essay on “The Wolf of the Dot.com” about a opportunist who snatched up her domain name when she accidentally let it lapse. The hoops she had to jump through and the lengths she had to go for to get it back were just plain terrifying!Other essays had a more serious bend providing a great balance to Crosley’s collection. I especially enjoyed her essay on fertility, aging, still being single, and the desire to be a mother. So many women today will see themselves in Crosley and appreciate her honesty in sharing such a personal journey. With a perfect mix of humor and seriousness, Look Alive Out There is an essay collection well worth reading!Original Source: https://novelvisits.com/mini-reviews-...
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    Despite not being an author who is famous enough to be invited to do a walk on for a popular tv show, or having a distant relative who is a retired porn star, or having any desire to go mountain climbing under less than stellar (or really any) circumstances, it's amazing how often Crosley manages to connect with the average reader. Alternating moments of "I can't believe that happened to her" with "I could completely see that happening to me", I laughed out loud and enjoyed every moment of this Despite not being an author who is famous enough to be invited to do a walk on for a popular tv show, or having a distant relative who is a retired porn star, or having any desire to go mountain climbing under less than stellar (or really any) circumstances, it's amazing how often Crosley manages to connect with the average reader. Alternating moments of "I can't believe that happened to her" with "I could completely see that happening to me", I laughed out loud and enjoyed every moment of this crazy and entertaining collection of essays. Presented in bite sized narratives, this is the perfect book to indulge in during your ordinary (or extraordinary?) day.This ARC was provided by MCD/Macmillan in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Scottsdale Public Library
    January 1, 1970
    I found Sloane Crosley’s 2008, "I Was Told There’d Be Cake" funny and under-rated, a then undiscovered among the slender humorist niche. Now a contender of Laurie Notaro and David Sedaris, her latest book of essays wowed me. She has honed her craft with “Up the down Volcano” which had me laughing out loud, and in “Outside Voices” she tackles noisy hipster neighbors with cunning sharpened from mild obsession. A perfect pick up and put down book for any summer vacation! -Lisanne E.
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  • Molly
    January 1, 1970
    Sloane Crosley is still hilarious. This collection started off a little rough for me, as I wasn't sure what to make of all the complaints about her raucous teenage neighbors - but she manages to turn the essay into something funny and bittersweet all at once. I don't know that it's outdone I Was Told There'd Be Cake for me, but it was certainly an enjoyable collection.I received access to this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Chaitra
    January 1, 1970
    Some of the essays were great, especially the last one where Sloane deals with a ticking biological clock and the one about her neighbor Jared the jerk. Some were so-so. And after reading a couple of them, I went huh? Being a recent non-fiction convert, I had no idea who she is, so I'm not sure if her previous book was better. But on the whole it wasn't bad. The last line of the book was a killer (I'm OC and have to read unrelated stories or essays in alphabetical order, so it was kind of ruined Some of the essays were great, especially the last one where Sloane deals with a ticking biological clock and the one about her neighbor Jared the jerk. Some were so-so. And after reading a couple of them, I went huh? Being a recent non-fiction convert, I had no idea who she is, so I'm not sure if her previous book was better. But on the whole it wasn't bad. The last line of the book was a killer (I'm OC and have to read unrelated stories or essays in alphabetical order, so it was kind of ruined for me, but it's not the book's fault).
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  • Booktart
    January 1, 1970
    I always feel somewhat disappointed when I finish a Sloane Crosley collection - I always want more! I didn’t love all of the essays in here but many are excellent, particularly the last one, “The Doctor is a Woman.” I think what I like so much about Crosley’s writing is her ability to put into words the feelings and nuances of daily life that everyone can relate to.
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    You know how the first couple seasons of a Housewives franchise are the best - before they are “famous” and argue about cookbook deals and branding? That’s how I feel now about Sloane - she was great before she became famous. Now she writes about being a guest star on gossip girl and researching a novel in France.
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  • Nicholle
    January 1, 1970
    According to Goodreads, I must have enjoyed the last Sloane Crosley book I read - I honestly don't remember anything about it, but 4 stars for me is at least "pretty good".I can't give this one even a 3 star rating. The essays weren't funny or even that interesting. I didn't have any empathy for Sloane, even though I wanted to like her. The writing was clunky at times. What should have been a 2 or 3 day read for me took much longer. I just wasn't motivated to pick it up.That said, I'm thankful t According to Goodreads, I must have enjoyed the last Sloane Crosley book I read - I honestly don't remember anything about it, but 4 stars for me is at least "pretty good".I can't give this one even a 3 star rating. The essays weren't funny or even that interesting. I didn't have any empathy for Sloane, even though I wanted to like her. The writing was clunky at times. What should have been a 2 or 3 day read for me took much longer. I just wasn't motivated to pick it up.That said, I'm thankful to Goodreads for this giveaway and would gladly share it with any friends interested in giving it a whirl.
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  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    Hilarious and snarky, literally laugh-out-loud funny... but it's not a secret how much I love Sloane Crosley - ESPECIALLY her essays. I've been a fan of hers since her debut "I Was Told There'd Be Cake" (which is actually why I attend most events but I digress). She has a gift for turning seemingly mundane experiences into hilarious stories with the best self-deprecating tone that somehow speaks to us all (even if we will never have a walk-on role on Gossip Girl). I still connect with every word Hilarious and snarky, literally laugh-out-loud funny... but it's not a secret how much I love Sloane Crosley - ESPECIALLY her essays. I've been a fan of hers since her debut "I Was Told There'd Be Cake" (which is actually why I attend most events but I digress). She has a gift for turning seemingly mundane experiences into hilarious stories with the best self-deprecating tone that somehow speaks to us all (even if we will never have a walk-on role on Gossip Girl). I still connect with every word and feeling. I especially love her travel stories because I, too, have had so many ridiculous things happen to me while traveling but my retellings are never as hysterical as hers.I really feel like we could (should?) (please?) be BFFs. Did I mention I just love her so much?!
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  • Alexis
    January 1, 1970
    Maybe I am biased, as I Was Told There'd Be Cake was one of the formative books of my young adult life, positing Sloane as my literary drunk aunt or someone like that-- but to be fair, holding her previous works to such regard made me nervous to read Look Alive Out There because what is she failed me?!? Nonetheless, Sloane did it again: 240 pages of essays that made me cry from both laughter and sentiment; often, both at the same time. This book is a tribute to the ways in which the ordinary hap Maybe I am biased, as I Was Told There'd Be Cake was one of the formative books of my young adult life, positing Sloane as my literary drunk aunt or someone like that-- but to be fair, holding her previous works to such regard made me nervous to read Look Alive Out There because what is she failed me?!? Nonetheless, Sloane did it again: 240 pages of essays that made me cry from both laughter and sentiment; often, both at the same time. This book is a tribute to the ways in which the ordinary happenings of life are the most brilliant, more often than not-- if only we take the time to look around and notice.
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  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    For me, a mixed bag. Some essays I really liked, like the one about her gardening downstairs neighbor. Others, not so much. The humor was understated, no real guffaws, but sometimes amusing. Some stories, such as the one about her porn-star distant "uncle," I was surprised she chose to write about (or that her family didn't try to discourage). Her disastrous hiking trip in South America was funny. Some of the more "personal" stories I didn't get into as much.
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  • Lynnie
    January 1, 1970
    Almost a decade ago, I read Sloane Crosley's I Was Told There'd Be Cake & enjoyed it immensely. I was looking forward to another collection of witty stories and essays & for the most part, Look Alive Out There delivers. Like any short story collection, some stories were really fantastic & others were fine... but nothing really blew me away.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    "My aversion to overpacking and its uptight cousin, overplanning, stems from the belief that neither tendency is a fake problem. These are not amusing tics. They are instead reflections on the personality of the packer. They suggest a dubiousness of other lifestyles (racist), a conviction that the world won't have what you need (princess), and a lack of faith that you'll continue being human when it doesn't (misanthrope)."
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    She may be half my age, but I want to write like Sloane Crosley when I grow up. This essay collection is as satisfying as a salmon dinner with a side of chocolate cheesecake. Crosley offers a perfect combination of heart and humor in widely varying essays that range from a hike in Mexico with a sketchy tour guide to Internet fraud to fertility treatments. She tells us about her “uncle” the porn star and about the time she nearly starved staying in a friend’s cabin—until she found her friendly do She may be half my age, but I want to write like Sloane Crosley when I grow up. This essay collection is as satisfying as a salmon dinner with a side of chocolate cheesecake. Crosley offers a perfect combination of heart and humor in widely varying essays that range from a hike in Mexico with a sketchy tour guide to Internet fraud to fertility treatments. She tells us about her “uncle” the porn star and about the time she nearly starved staying in a friend’s cabin—until she found her friendly dope-smoking neighbors. It’s serious and fun at the same time, beautifully written.
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  • Suzi
    January 1, 1970
    ummmm hmmmmm, I have some feelings about what an essay actually is, and how much thought might need to go into one, and how it's not actually charming or cute to be in Ecuador needing to be rescued on a climb that you did no research for, but anyway, 2.5-3ish. Luckily: A fast read.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this collection of essays, sort of like a memoir in short stories. As with any in the genre, some are stronger than others. The "Jared" story was positively brilliant. I listened to this on audiobook and loved that one so much I listened twice.
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  • xq
    January 1, 1970
    Sloane is back!! I love her essays and wish there were more whenever I read one of her books.
  • Ric
    January 1, 1970
    God, I love this woman. Whipsmart, wildly funny and bracingly honest, these essays are thotoughly delightful. Calling her a female David Sideris does her an injustice as she is wholly original.
  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    Open, honest and well written essays. Very readable and meaningful.
  • Kristina Howard
    January 1, 1970
    3.5- a good beach/travel read. I really enjoyed a couple of essays, but mostly in a superficial "that's an amusing story" way. Other essays, not so much.
  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    Sloane Crosley is like a female version of David Sedaris, but not as good. Not sure I could explain why--maybe her stories are a little more forced, or a little more indulgent. I enjoyed them well enough and will read I Was Told There'd Be Cake in due course. But Sedaris is #1 humorist!
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