You Think It, I'll Say It (Sittenfeld)

You Think It, I'll Say It:  Stories
Curtis Sittenfeld, 2018
Random House
240 pp.

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. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—August 23, 1975
Where—Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Education—B.A., Stanford University; M.F.A., Iowa Writers' Workshop
Currently—lives in St. Louis, Missouri

Elizabeth Curtis Sittenfeld is an American writer, the author of several novels and a collection of short stories.

Sittenfeld was the second of four children (three girls and a boy) of Paul G. Sittenfeld, an investment adviser, and Elizabeth (Curtis) Sittenfeld, an art history teacher and librarian at Seven Hills School, a private school in Cincinnati.

She attended Seven Hills School through the eighth grade, then attended high school at Groton School, a boarding school in Groton, Massachusetts, graduating in 1993. In 1992, the summer before her senior year, she won Seventeen magazine's fiction contest.

She attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, before transferring to Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. At Stanford, she studied Creative Writing, wrote articles for the college newspaper, and edited that paper's weekly arts magazine. At the time, she was also chosen as one of Glamour magazine's College Women of the Year. She earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.

Her first novel Prep (2005) deals with coming of age, self-identity, and class distinctions in the preppy and competitive atmosphere of a private school.

The Man of My Dreams
Sittenfeld's second novel, The Man of My Dreams (2006), follows a girl named Hannah from the end of her 8th grade year through her college years at Tufts and into her late twenties.

American Wife
Sittenfeld's third novel, American Wife (2008), is the tale of Alice Blackwell, a fictional character who shares many similarities with former First Lady Laura Bush.

Her fourth novel, Sisterland (2013), concerns a set of identical twins who have psychic powers, one of whom hides her strange gift while the other has become a professional psychic.

A 21st-century retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Eligible was released in 2016. (Adapted from Wikipedia. Retrieved 6/12/2013.)

Book Reviews
In the lives of Sittenfeld's characters, the lusts and disappointments of youth loom large well into middle age…. Their trials, in the grand scheme of things, are manageable enough that they allow easily for comedy, which Sittenfeld is a pro at delivering in the details.… But Sittenfeld doesn't shy away from poking at the soft spots of a person's psyche, the painful longings for something exquisite to cut through the ennui of even the most comfortable lives.… The women of You Think It, I'll Say It are, as a group, a demanding breed. They often assume the worst in their imagined adversaries. Sometimes they are wrong, but they are right about just enough (and funny enough) that we forgive them. And, because they know they need absolution for their own worst motives, we forgive those, too.
Susan Dominus - New York Times Book Review

Sittenfeld makes writing lively and diverting fiction look easy, though each deceptively simple and breezy story is masterfully paced and crafted. . . . Witty and buoyant, Sittenfeld delivers her characters to her audience with bemused perspicacity and above all affection. . . . Sittenfeld proves adept at quickly establishing characters in whom the reader feels inclined to invest immediately.
Chicago Tribune

Razor-sharp, often hilarious.… [Sittenfeld] is a sharp observer of human nature and human relationships.… A witty, breezy, zeitgeist-y collection.
USA Today

Perfectly paced, witty and laced with unexpected twists: Every story here sticks its landing.… Whatever [Sittenfeld] writes, we’ll read it.

Sittenfeld’s new story collection is brutally, beautifully human.
Entertainment Weekly

(Starred review) In her thoroughly satisfying first collection, Sittenfeld spins magic out of the short story form.… As in her novels, Sittenfeld’s characters are funny and insightful. Reading these consistently engrossing stories is a pleasure.
Publishers Weekly

(Starred review) In crisp, surprising language, these ten stories …put couples' foibles under the spotlight …to show how the slog of daily living knocks idealized romance out of its misleading No. 1 spot as the goal of pairing up. —Beth Andersen, formerly with Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI
Library Journal

(Starred review) [E]ntertaininge.… Masterfully plotted and often further gilded with mirthful twists, Sittenfeld’s short-form works (half of which are published here for the first time) are every bit as smart, sensitive, funny, and genuine as her phenomenally popular novels.

[T]he fissures beneath the surfaces of comfortable lives.… . Sittenfeld's own perspective throughout is compassionate without being sentimental, hopeful without being naïve. The way we live now, assessed with rue and grace.
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers Book Club Resources. They can help with discussions for any book, even short stories:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

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