You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories

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Ranging in age from early twenties to early forties, the protagonists in Curtis Sittenfeld’s short story collection You Think It, I’ll Say It share one common quality: they are all searching. Whether the search is for meaning in a world made senseless by the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president or for security after a lifetime of feeling lesser than their peers, these are people in flux, and they are achingly familiar.

The opening story, “Gender Studies,” is the dud in the collection. I first read it in The New Yorker and was less impressed with it than I expected to be given my affinity for Sittenfeld’s writing. Its premise that an academic, liberal woman is working out her feelings about the end of a relationship by sleeping with a younger, conservative man is a bit cliché, and it in no way speaks to the power of the rest of the stories in the collection. If I were picking up this book to read again, and I imagine I will, I’d skip this one altogether.

It is in the latter stories, particularly “Bad Latch,” “Plausible Deniability,” and “The Prairie Wife,” that Sittenfeld’s astute and razor-sharp observations about the human condition are most on display. In “Bad Latch,” a new mother struggles with feeling good enough as she compares herself to another recent mom who seems to have it all together, while “Plausible Deniability” presents a 43-year-old bachelor in an email-based relationship that fulfils him more than any face-to-face one ever has. But it is Kirsten in “The Prairie Wife” who utters perhaps the most sage and sad line of the entire collection when she says, “I just wish that there was someone who was excited about me…I didn’t understand that that would be the only time.”

You Think It, I’ll Say It is many things, but it is perhaps mostly a book about looking around and seeing, really seeing, what our lives are, how we got here, and how we can move forward. Just as our lives beg to be shared, discussed, and relished, this book, too, deserves that same attention and admiration.

Reviewed By:

Author Curtis Sittenfeld
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher Random House
Publish Date 2018-Apr-24
ISBN 9780399592867
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue July 2018
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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