You Think It, I'll Say It

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

A solid collection of short stories filled with Sittenfeld's insight into the everyday.  As with most short story collections, some stood out more than others.  I still prefer her novel-length writing, though, as she is an amazing character and plot developer.
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Curtis Sittenfeld is back.  After  a bit of a stumble with "Eligible", she is back in fine form with this collection of short stories.  All of the stories have the connecting thread of showing the nasty streak in all of humanity. The title story left me feeling sorry for a woman that was not very sympathetic to begin with.  All of the stories are good reads.  I am glad she is back!
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An exquisite short story collection. Curtis Sittenfeld has always been an excellent writer and seeing her give voice to so many different stories and characters was a true showcase of her skills!
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I don't read too many collections of short stories, mostly because I always feel like they don't give me enough in terms of characterization and plot development. However, if everyone wrote short stories like Curtis Sittenfeld does, then I would read them all the time.
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I'm not a big fan of short stories, but I love Curtis Sittenfield's writing, so I wanted to check this out. I actually found myself really enjoying it. This collection of stories will appeal to the average person because it's just like you're listening to a friend tell you about an experience they had in their past. Sittenfield's writing is so engaging and conversational. I really like that in a writer. I was amazed at how much emotion she captured in so few words. 

I think this book will appeal to women my age who often wonder if they are still the same person they were back in the, say, 90's. They will relate to the cringe-worthy memories and the awkward moments of young adulthood. I found myself relating to many of the stories, even if the scenarios weren't the same, I experienced the same feelings. It made me feel somehow validated in my awkwardness. 

After having read these stories, I may be more open to reading other short stories. Maybe I just hadn't been reading the right ones! If you're a fan of Curtis Sittenfield, this is a must-read! (Even if you aren't familiar with her writing, I'd encourage you to check it out.)
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I've never read any of Sittenfeld's novels. I started Prep twice and for whatever reason I only got a few chapters in each time. This was years ago and I don't even remember why I didn't feel compelled to read on. You Think It, I'll Say It has me wanting to see if her novels are as interesting as these little nuggets. 
A majority of these stories involve the judgements people make about others, whether it is an infant's mother comparing her parenting to another's, a thirty-something remembering a high school acquaintance, or a woman tagging a former lover as a present hypocrite. There are petty jealousies, friends who we hang out with, even though they are kind of an ass, and people questioning some aspect of their relationships.  The result is thoroughly modern in its approach of the comparisons and expectations people (mostly, women) create in their daily lives. There were some political references in this book (mainly of the Trump election variety), but they were not the main focus of the stories they appear in. They just add a little flavor. None of the stories ever feel too long or drag on. Very enjoyable!  I read this collection in one day.   
I appreciate Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for providing me the chance to review this collection in exchange for my honest review.
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I went into this already a Sittenfeld fan, and was not disappointed. And as a middle-aged mom in the Midwest, I am even more enthusiastic than before. Yes, much of what we are thinking, Curtis Sittenfeld is saying.
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I wanted to love this more than I did. Sittenfeld is an effective writer, able to delve into the crevices of some tough topics in some really relatable ways. That being said, I wasn't really moved by anyone in any of the stories, so this did fall a bit flat for me.
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3.8. I am not a fan of short stories but I have always liked Curtis Sittenfeld’s novels, particularly Prep, so I was looking forward to reading her new endeavor.  Her later novels never seemed to be up to that high standard, but her writing is always very crisp and characters well defined.  I liked You Think It, I’ll Say It,  but didn’t love it as I do much prefer novels, therefore not the highest rating.   That being said, as with all her fiction, the prose was excellent.  Interesting stories  that generally had an unexpected twist and very adroitly captured the nuances of everyday life in each of the characters.  Also I particularly loved the St. Louis and Washington, DC references.
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Thank you Random House and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. 

I thought You Think It, I’ll Say It, is a good book to pick up when you’re in the mood for nothing too dramatic. I didn’t really connect with many of the stories, but I liked two the most: Bad Latch and Off The Record! I think you need to be a short story lover to really appreciate this one.
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This was the perfect short story collection - I've followed Curtis Sittenfeld for years, and I love the specificity of her stories - she really highlights perfect little details of day-to-day life and relationships with wit in a way that make me think.
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Thank you to Random House Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of Curtis Sittenfeld's short story collection, You Think It, I'll Say It, in exchange for an honest review.

PLOT- You Think It, I'll Say It is a collection of short stories from acclaimed novelist, Curtis Sittenfeld.

LIKE- Sittenfeld is one of my favorite modern writers and I was absolutely thrilled to have an opportunity to review her latest book, a collection of short stories.

Sittenfeld doesn't shy away from the uncomfortable and many of her characters toy with emotional bombshells. They exist on the edge, often crossing the line by acting on their impulses.

In the story which provides the inspiration for title of the collection, The World Has Many Butterflies, friends begin to have an emotional affair by playing a strange game: "You Think it, I'll Say It." They secretly play this game when they come in contact at parties and their kid's sporting events. Graham initiates the play by mentioning the title and then Julie begins to tear down the other people in the room, as if she and Graham are conspirators thinking the same thoughts. At first, Julie feels a sense of freedom in speaking as she wishes and saying what's on her mind, but the game becomes increasingly intimate, as she speaks in a way that she wouldn't dare reveal to her spouse.

Plausible Deniability plays on a similar theme, with Libby having an emotional affair with her brother-in-law. She feels in her gut that it is crossing the line, but for over a year she continues to send him text messages. At a certain point, they agree to only send one message a day and the message can only be about classical music. Libby sends these incredibly intimate texts about the music she loves. When she becomes pregnant and confronts her brother-in-law regarding this emotional affair and intimacy that they are having, he tries to make it seem like it isn't a big deal. Libby admits that it is a big deal to her, she thinks about him romantically and even though he is devastated that she wants to cut it off, he won't admit that they have crossed the line. He is the narrator of the story, so we know that he loves her more than he should and even more devastating, he realizes that his brother doesn't really love her. 

Old memories from high school and college also haunt Sittenfeld's characters. A Regular Couple, involves two couples on their honeymoon who meet at a resort in the desert. The wives were high school classmates over two decades ago. The narrator, Maggie, is both intimidated and fascinated with Ashley, who was a very popular girl in their high school. Now, Maggie is a successful lawyer and immediately, Ashley mentions having seen Maggie in the news. Maggie and her husband are staying in the most expensive rooms, while Ashley and her much older husband, are staying in cheaper accommodations. Maggie knows she has reaches success in her career and she even has a "trophy husband"- She admits that her husband, Jason, is far more attractive than she is and she constantly worries that Jason, who does not have as successful of a career, is using her for her money. Maggie is insecure and spending time with Ashley turns her into a mess. Although Ashley seems to have nothing but goodwill towards Maggie, Maggie can't help but try to seek retribution for the way that she was treated in high school.

Do-Over is a perfect story for our political climate. A few decades after they graduated from boarding school, Sylvia looks up her old classmate, Clay and they have dinner. Sylvia and Clay ran against each other in a school campaign and there was a tie vote. The school administrators gave the role to Clay, offering Sylvia a lesser leadership role. Years later, Sylvia, who also happened to have a crush on Clay back in high school, decides to confront him or rather, ambush him. Sylvia, feeling she has nothing to lose, lets Clay know exactly how she feels during a very tense and awkward dinner date. 

You Think It, I'll Say It is a solid collection and every single story was excellent. No clunkers. I adore Sittenfeld. Her characters engage in cringe-worthy behavior, but their mindset and impulses are always relatable. She understands how people tick and I love to see how her stories play out. She always keeps me guessing and turning the page. Her wicked sense of humor also shines through.

DISLIKE- Not a single thing.

RECOMMEND- YES, YES, YES!!! I recommend You Think It, I'll Say It and everything else that Sittenfeld has written. I can't wait to read what she writes next. Sittenfeld is such a talent!
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I liked this collection right from the first story, a story in which the main character gets caught up in a  game called "I'll Think It, You Say It" that leads her down a path to obsession over a man who isn't her husband. "...alarmingly, I'll Think It, You Say It left her as cheerful and energized as a Zumba class." Julie is a woman who has settled into her family's life in the suburbs; the attention of another man makes her feel alive again.
"It wasn't that talking to Graham had made her feel lovestruck, not remotely, not then. It was more that it had made her feel big-boomed, curly-haired, high-spirited, and Jewish. Even if it was only by that point symbolic rather than literal, it had made her feel like herself."
This is a solid collection of stories about relationships of all kinds. Like all short story collections, I liked some of the stories better than others but more as a matter of preference than that any of the stories were weaker than others. Many had interesting twists which I won't share with you because I don't want to spoil anything. There's an interesting story that I can't help but think took Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman, as a launch point. Some stories are about friendships, some are about marriages, some are about both. There was one story were I was highlighting like crazy because I was trying to figure out if there were editing errors that weren't, in fact, errors. If you do read this collection, I'd love if you can tell me if you figure out which story this was that exposed my prejudice.

If I find a flaw in Sittenfeld's writing it's that her writing can come off as elitist. In the above story, it seems clear she feels like the suburbs are the place people go to lose themselves but not in the good way. In another story she writes: "As if Bill and Barbara Adams of Traverse City, Michigan, even grasp what Uber is." I don't live in Traverse City, Michigan, but I know people who grew up there and I'm fairly certain that it's not the isolated outpost Sittenfeld seems to be insinuating. Little jabs like that can gnaw at me and turn my opinion about a book.

Fortunately, there was enough I liked about this collection for me to overlook those little jabs. I tend to have such mixed feelings about short story collections and often come away from them feeling like I wanted more from many of the stories or that there were too many weak stories to recommend the book. This is a collection that has left me thinking I'd like to read more short stories and that's a good thing.
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Full disclaimer, I love Curtis Sittenfeld's writing, I would read the copy on a Cornflake box if she wrote it. These short stories look at the ways we relate, to  one another, to ourselves and to our surroundings, and are packed with whip smart observations, sassy asides and nuance. Read in one sitting or perfect for dipping into on the subway commute.
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Let me begin by saying I've never read Curtis Sittenfeld before, but I've heard she is a good writer. These stories are indeed well-written. But I didn't feel like they were anything particularly special, on the whole. I think the second-to-last story, "Volunteers Are Shining Stars," was the best story in the collection. It was a bit disconcerting, the narrator was pretty intriguing, and the whole movement of the story was fascinating and disquieting in a way that interested me. But the other stories were just sort of there, being stories.
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A wonderful collection of short stories.  I loved all the stories in this book and couldn't get enough of Curtis Sittenfield.
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I'm not a huge fan of short stories - they just aren't my favorite. But I like Curtis I gave this a shot.

I didn't love it. But I didn't dislike it either. Basically, I was just sort of lukewarm about it.

But, a good collection. I just feel as if I'm just getting connected and the characters are gone.

I'm actually going to go ahead and read another set of short stories we know that it couldn't have been too bad.
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I was sitting at breakfast the morning after I finished this book of short stories wondering why I wasn’t interested or involved .  As I was pondering this,  I was also reading the New York Times Book Review from several months ago – it sometimes takes me a while to catch up with the rest of the world. Anyway, Alana Massey was reviewing a collection of essays, which I had not read but nevertheless found her review interesting. One sentence jumped out at me:    ”……..instinct to uncover answers to universal questions, while introducing a new willingness to acknowledge that sometimes stories don’t end with such neat answers”.  

Being “aware that you are an elitist asshole…and powerless not to be one” doesn’t bring anything to the table for me and unfortunately that was my reaction to each of the stories.  The writing was excellent but I just could not connect.

Thank you NetGalley and Random House for a copy.
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Sittenfeld is a good writer, and her observations and portrayal of people feel very realistic. I was interested and every story held my attention, but I'm not sure I could truly say this was enjoyable. It's pretty spot-on in showing the less picture-perfect side of average human beings, and while you don't necessarily agree or cheer for everything many of the characters are doing, she does a good job of making the reader believe it and get it.
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I don't typically read short stories but I loved Sittenfield's writing in the past so thought I'd give this a try. I enjoyed the themes of communication and judgements, those that we make quickly and often inaccurately. Overall I just didn't connect with the short story format, I felt like just when I began to get to know a character that story ended
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