Year 4 / Book 19: You Think It, I’ll Say It

19) You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld

You Think It, I’ll Say It is a book of short stories that are witty, sharp and at times extremely moving. I’ve never read anything by Sittenfeld before (though seen reviews of her novels that have praised her highly), and I’d heartily recommend this as a starting point if you are in the same place – because, in short, these stories are fabulously written, and hugely enjoyable.

The first essay is wonderful and details the relationship over a number of years between a journalist and a barely-fictionalised Hillary Clinton – it is perceptive, wry and surprising by turns. Several others deal with marital relationships, and the dark underbelly of infidelity: there’s a brutal one about a wife and her husband’s brother, an entertaining one about old school friends meeting on their honeymoon, and the title story which is about temptation and judgement.

It’s difficult to go into the details of any of them without giving too much away, but they are very readable and Sittenfeld is incredibly perceptive – as is the way with the best short stories, these seem to cover substantially more ground and have greater range than the pages could allow. While they lack the depth and bitter wit of Lorrie Moore (who is probably my favourite writer, bar none), these are absolutely in her class which I consider high praise.

Finally, though it shouldn’t be noteworthy, these are stories of women – career women, women who pretend to like each other, powerful and powerless women, deceitful and loyal women; women as varied and diverse as in real life. And there is reality and truth running through each of these tales.

Score: 8.5/10

BUY IT NOW: You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories

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