“Every bit as smart, sensitive, funny, and genuine as her phenomenally popular novels,”* a dazzling collection from the New York Times bestselling author of Prep, American Wife, and Eligible
“I really loved all the characters in this book. They’re so complex and interesting, and in every story, you’ll find them going through these pivotal moments in their lives.”—Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine Book Pick)
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PEOPLE AND USA TODAY AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • NPR • Financial Times • San Francisco Chronicle • New York Public Library • Refinery29
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.
*Booklist (starred review)
LONGLISTED FOR THE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN FICTION
“At once psychologically acute, deftly crafted and deeply pleasurable.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Witty and buoyant . . . Each deceptively simple and breezy story is masterfully paced and crafted.”—Chicago Tribune
“Perfectly paced, witty and laced with unexpected twists: Every story here sticks its landing. Whatever [Sittenfeld] writes, we’ll read it.”—People
“Razor-sharp, often hilarious . . . [Curtis Sittenfeld] is a sharp observer of human nature and human relationships. . . . A witty, breezy, zeitgeist-y collection.”—USA Today
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Curtis Sittenfeld is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Prep, The Man of My Dreams, American Wife, Sisterland, and Eligible, which have been translated into thirty languages. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post Magazine, Esquire, and The Best American Short Stories. Her nonfiction has been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Time, and Glamour, and broadcast on public radio’s This American Life. A native of Cincinnati, she currently lives with her family in St. Louis.
Date of Birth:August 23, 1975
Place of Birth:Cincinnati, Ohio
Education:B.A., Stanford University, 1997; M.F.A., University of Iowa (Iowa Writers¿ Workshop), 2001
Read an Excerpt
“The Prairie Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld, excerpted from You Think It, I’ll Say It
The understanding is that, after Casey’s iPhone alarm goes off at 6:15 a.m., Kirsten wakes the boys, nudges them to get dressed, and herds them downstairs, all while Casey is showering. The four of them eat breakfast as a family, deal with teeth-brushing and backpacks, and Casey, who is the principal of the middle school in the same district as the elementary school Jack and Ian attend, drives the boys to drop-off. Kirsten then takes her shower in the newly quiet house before leaving for work.
The reality is that, at 6:17, as soon as Casey shuts the bathroom door, Kirsten grabs her own iPhone from her nightstand and looks at Lucy Headrick’s Twitter feed. Clearly, Kirsten is not alone: Lucy has 3.1 million followers. (She follows a mere five hundred and thirty-three accounts, many of which belong to fellow-celebrities.) Almost all of Lucy’s vast social-media empire, which of course is an extension of her life-style-brand empire (whatever the fuck a life-style brand is), drives Kirsten crazy. Its content is fake and pandering and boring and repetitive—how many times will Lucy post variations on the same recipe for buttermilk biscuits?—and Kirsten devours all of it, every day: Facebook and Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest, the blog, the vlog, the TV show. Every night, Kirsten swears that she won’t devote another minute to Lucy, and every day she squanders hours. The reason that things go wrong so early in the morning, she has realized, is this: she’s pretty sure Twitter is the only place where real, actual Lucy is posting, Lucy whom Kirsten once knew. Lucy has insomnia, and, while all the other posts on all the other sites might be written by Lucy’s minions, Kirsten is certain that it was Lucy herself who, at 1:22 a.m., wrote, “Watching Splash on cable, oops I forgot to name one of my daughters Madison!” Or, at 3:14 a.m., accompanied by a photo of an organic candy bar: “Hmm could habit of eating chocolate in middle of night be part of reason I can’t sleep LOL!”
Morning, therefore, is when there’s new, genuine Lucy sustenance. So how can Kirsten resist? And then the day is Lucy-contaminated already, and there’s little incentive for Kirsten not to keep polluting it for the sixteen hours until she goes to bed with the bullshitty folksiness in Lucy’s life: the acquisition of an Alpine goat, the canning of green beans, the baby shower that Lucy is planning for her young friend Jocelyn, who lives on a neighboring farm.
As it happens, Lucy has written (or “written”? Right? There’s no way) a memoir, with recipes—“Dishin’ with the Prairie Wife”—that is being published today, so Kirsten’s latest vow is that she’ll buy the book (she tried to reserve it from the library and learned that she was three hundred and fifth in line), read it, and then be done with Lucy. Completely. Forever.
The memoir has been “embargoed”—as if Lucy is, like, Henry Kissinger—and, to promote it, Lucy travelled yesterday from her farm in Missouri to Los Angeles. (As she told Twitter, “BUMMM-PEE flyin over the mountains!!”) Today, she will appear on a hugely popular TV talk show on which she has been a guest more than once. Among last night’s tweets, posted while Kirsten was sleeping, was the following: “Omigosh you guys I’m so nervous + excited for Mariana!!! Wonder what she will ask . . .” The pseudo-nervousness, along with the “Omigosh”—never “Omigod,” or even “OMG”—galls Kirsten. Twenty years ago, Lucy swore like a normal person; but the Lucy of now, Kirsten thinks, resembles Casey, who, when their sons were younger, respectfully asked Kirsten to stop cursing in front of them. Indeed, the Lucy of now—beloved by evangelicals, homeschooler of her three daughters, wife of a man she refers to as the Stud in Overalls, who is a deacon in their church—uses such substitutes as “Jiminy Crickets!” and “Fudge Nuggets!” Once, while making a custard on-air, Lucy dropped a bit of eggshell into the mix and exclaimed, “Shnookerdookies!” Kirsten assumed that it was staged, or maybe not originally staged but definitely not edited out when it could have been. This made Kirsten feel such rage at Lucy that it was almost like lust.
Kirsten sees that, last night, Lucy, as she usually does, replied to a few dozen tweets sent to her by nobodies: Nicole in Seattle, who has thirty-one followers; Tara in Jacksonville, who’s a mom of two awesome boys. (Aren’t we all? Kirsten thinks.) Most of the fans’ tweets say some variation of “You’re so great!” or “It’s my birthday pretty please wish me a happy birthday?!” Most of Lucy’s responses say some variation of “Thank you for the kind words!” or “Happy Birthday!” Kirsten has never tweeted at Lucy; in fact, Kirsten has never tweeted. Her Twitter handle is not her name but “Minneap” plus the last three digits of her Zip Code, and, instead of uploading a photo of herself, she’s kept the generic egg avatar. She has three followers, all of whom appear to be bots.
Through the bathroom door, Kirsten can hear the shower running, and the minute that Casey turns it off—by this point, Kirsten is, as she also does daily, reading an article about how smartphones are destroying people’s ability to concentrate—she springs from bed, flicking on light switches in the master bedroom, the hall, and the boys’ rooms. When Casey appears, wet hair combed, completely dressed, and finds Ian still under the covers and Kirsten standing by his bureau, Kirsten frowns and says that both boys seem really tired this morning. Casey nods sombrely, even though it’s what Kirsten says every morning. Is Casey clueless, inordinately patient, or both?
At breakfast, Jack, who is six, asks, “Do doctors ever get sick?”
“Of course,” Casey says. “Everyone gets sick.”
While packing the boys’ lunches, Kirsten says to Ian, who is nine, “I’m giving you Oreos again today, but you need to eat your cucumber slices, and if they’re still in your lunchbox when you come home you don’t get Oreos tomorrow.”
She kisses the three of them goodbye, and as soon as the door closes, even before she climbs the stairs, Kirsten knows that she’s going to get herself off using the handheld showerhead. She doesn’t consider getting herself off using the handheld showerhead morally problematic, but it presents two logistical complications, the first of which is that, the more often she does it, the more difficult it is for Casey to bring her to orgasm on the occasions when they’re feeling ambitious enough to have sex. The second complication is that it makes her late for work. If Kirsten leaves the house at 7:45, she has a fifteen-minute drive; if she leaves at or after 7:55, the drive is twice as long. But, seriously, what else is she supposed to do with her Lucy rage?
Previously excerpted from The New Yorker. February 2017
Table of Contents
Gender Studies 3
The World Has Many Butterflies 20
Vox Clamantis in Deserto 40
Bad Latch 61
Plausible Deniability 69
A Regular Couple 91
Off the Record 124
The Prairie Wife 146
Volunteers Are Shining Stars 170
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I’m not usually a fan of short stories, but I’ve liked this author before so I gave it a try. There were no disappointments- a sharp,sometimes funny, often poignant collection of our current world and the different ways women find their way in it.
fun quick read!
I really enjoyed this short story collection. I have a thing for character studies and that is what each of these stories initiates. Each character flawed enough to be vaguely unlikable, but also feel so incredible real and...human. The one things I didn't like, is entirely the same problem I have with most short stories,; its just hard to get invested in the stories. I recieved this book for free from Netgalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
I'm a fan of Curtis Sittenfeld's novels. When I learned she was publishing a short story collection, I was intrigued and a little anxious. What if her short stories weren't as good as her novels? I worried needlessly. She had me from the first page and never let me go. First, how about that title? Brilliant. The title story is brilliant, as well. It was my favorite of the collection, but there is not a weak one in the bunch. The writing is crisp and fresh, and Sittenfeld knows how to expose human weakness and folly with empathy. She has never disappointed me once. I eagerly await her next title. Sittenfeld fans and contemporary short story fans alike will delight in this gem.
horrible-can anyone get a book published nowadays?
Thank you Random House and Netgalley for an advanced review egalley of "You Think It, I'll Say It" I have long been a fan of Curtis Sittenfeld's sharp, dry wit and smart writing. Last year's "Eligible" and her prior published work ("Prep" and "American Wife") are among some of my favorite works. I've enjoyed her pieces published in The New Yorker - and so it is no surprise that I loved this collection of short stories. Read over the course of a day I found Sittenfeld's latest offering to be just as sharp witted and smart as her other work. This is a cohesive collection of stories that I found to be thought provoking and at times slightly satirical in nature. A couple of my favorites were "Bad Latch" - a story about best laid plans gone awry and new motherhood. Another of the stories, "You Think It, I'll Say It" details the inner thoughts of a woman who wants to say what she thinks - but finds that she can't unless her thoughts are presented as part of a secret party game played with her husband's coworker. Overall, a cohesive collection of short stories that are thought provoking beyond the last page. If you're a fan of Sittenfeld's other work you'll like this as well.