Original date of publication: 2010
My copy: 2010 (Riverhead Books)
Why I decided to read: two years ago I greatly enjoyed her other collection of essays
How I acquired my copy: review copy from the publisher, May 2010
How Did You Get This Number (apparently, no question mark in that title) is a collection of nine essays, ranging in topic. In the opening essay, Crosley takes an impromptu, off-season jaunt to Portugal for no apparent reason, and meets a troupe of clown college students; later, she discusses the relative merits and demerits of Alaska, when she attends a friend’s wedding in “Light Pollution;” and later still she discusses getting thrown out of Paris (“I do not think you should come to this place again”), and having a dealer of furniture who will get you things “Off the Back of a Truck.”
These essays are always witty and sometimes funny. There’s no real connection between any of them, but Crosley has a way with words that is often poignant and rings true. Sometimes her ramblings don’t make total sense, but I found myself laughing out loud numerous times while reading these essays. Crosley always manages to remain pragmatic about her experiences, even as she dates a guy who turns out to be no good, or accidentally breaks into a stranger’s courtyard in Paris, or shopping for roommates on Craigslist (been there, done that!). Embarrassing experiences like these are prime fodder for Crosley’s self-deprecating style, and she can even be philosophical about childhood games like Girl Talk (a game from my own adolescence I remember very well...). What I like about Crosley’s essays is that her experiences are so relatable.
There are some weak essays in the book (the two subjects of the last one in particular don’t seem to go together, and I didn’t quite “get” the one about taxis. In all, however, this is a very strong collection of essays, and a great follow-up to I Was Told There’d Be Cake. Definitely worth reading if you’re looking for a humorous memoir where the author doesn’t take herself too seriously.