• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of Cult Classic by Sloane Crosley

Updated: Jul 12

Sloane Crosley's appealingly oddball tale explores the specter of newly engaged Lola's past loves and lusts while playing with space and time in New York City's Chinatown.

In Sloane Crosley's Cult Classic, Lola is leaving dinner with former colleagues one night in New York City’s Chinatown when she runs into a former boyfriend. And then she runs into another. And another. It seems that each day, a blast from the past emerges within the same few blocks--whether they were important to her or in her life for only a short time.

The city is soon awash with ghosts of Lola's brief encounters, big loves, strange connections, and heartbreaks from the past.

“This is New York," I explained. "Everything is outside everyone’s comfort zone.”

The scenario is particularly fraught for someone like Lola, who can't let go of the past, who has meticulously saved every memento from every man in her life, who constantly questions whether she has it in her to remain committed to one person--and who doubts whether she should remain engaged to her fiancé.

Romance may be the world’s oldest cult. It hooks you when you’re vulnerable, scares the shit out of you, holds your deepest fears as collateral, renames you something like "baby," brainwashes you, then makes you think that your soul will wither and die if you let go of a person who loved you.

Nothing in this entertaining, oddball tale is quite what it seems. Cult Classic is a sometimes darkly funny, suspenseful story of love, memory, and mind control with a twist—and then a double twist. Characters explore connections, loyalties, disappointments, evolutions, and revelations. The story went roughly where I thought it might, but I didn't anticipate the quirky details or the unexpected route there.

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Sloane Crosley is also the author of I Was Told There’d Be Cake, The Clasp, Look Alive Out There, and How Did You Get This Number.

If you like books that play with time, you might also enjoy the books on the Greedy Reading Lists Six Riveting Time-Travel Stories to Explore and Six Second-Chance, Do-Over, Reliving-Life Stories.

I received an electronic prepublication copy of this book courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, MCD and NetGalley.