Short stories are the perfect palate cleanser. Usually, with a book of short stories, I read a couple and then move on to my next novel. The ten short stories in Curtis Sittenfeld’s new book wasn’t one I was going to put down until I was finished, each one leaving me hungry for more. Each story and its characters are so well developed, I didn’t want them to end. I was just as excited, however, to see what the next story would bring.
Sittenfeld writes real characters dealing with real-life issues. She doesn’t hold back with details, even some that readers might find taboo like thoughts of adultery, jealousy, and sex. You Think It, I’ll Say It is a perfect title for this collection. Each story contains the thoughts of characters that are never said out loud, giving the reader a privileged peek inside their minds. The main character in each one seems to be evaluating their lives based on a loss, a disappointment, a missed opportunity, a misperception, a grudge. All of these thoughts are in their own head and find themselves having to face their internal dialogue in these stories.
A few of my favorites:
“The Prairie Wife,” tells us about a woman who seems to be stalking a celebrity on Twitter but through the story, we learn it’s for a good reason. The two were romantically involved once at a summer camp.
“Off the Record,” about a freelance writer who reconnects with a famous actress that she interviewed a few years earlier.
“The World Has Many Butterflies,” gives us the title of the book where a woman and a man play a game of, “You Think It, I’ll Say it” whenever they are together.
“Do-Over,” awkwardly reconnects two boarding school classmates who reexamine a class election and who, not surprisingly, have different memories of past events.
If you enjoy short stories, as I do, these won’t disappoint. And if you aren’t a fan of the genre, I bet this book could change your mind. Short stories are great for people who don’t have a lot of time to read or only pick up a book every once in awhile since you can read a story in one sitting. I have only read one other book by Sittenfeld, American Wife, which I also really enjoyed. Her book, Eligible (a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice), is on my “Want to Read” list and after finishing these short stories I am anxious to pick it up.
A big thank you to Netgalley and Random House for gifting me this advanced copy to review.
You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld
Publish Date: April 24, 2018 by Random House
Genre: Short Stories, Fiction
Where I Read: A coffee shop in Ojai, CA
Stephenie’s Goodreads Rating: 4 out of 5 stars