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Help Yourself Reviews

Help Yourself by Curtis Sittenfeld

Help Yourself: Three scalding stories from the bestselling author of AMERICAN WIFE

Curtis Sittenfeld

4.00 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Doubleday
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publication date: 29 Sep 2020
ISBN: 9780857527479

'Nobody else writes with such precision and amusement about the absolute inability of men and women to understand each other' RED MAGAZINE

4 stars out of 5
Phil Baker
11 Oct 2020

"an exceptionally sharp laying bare of attitudes"

Best known for her novel American Wife, a fictional life of Laura Bush, and more recently Rodham, about Hillary Clinton, Sittenfeld has an analytical eye for the festering grudges and deep-seated disrespects of everyday life. Help Yourself is her second short-story collection, and shows her feeling for the form: what could just have been an excruciating anecdote becomes a resonant story when Jill’s unwanted celebrity is counterpointed with her search for a neighbour’s dog.


4 stars out of 5
Hattie Crisell
8 Oct 2020

"brief but well-drawn set of stories"

At only 80 pages, you could read the lot in one go. Against Sittenfeld’s six novels (most recently Rodham, a fictional tale starring Hillary Clinton) and more substantial story collection You Think It, I’ll Say It, this is a light literary snack. But it’s no less delicious for that.

4 stars out of 5
5 Oct 2020

"A sharp collection of stories examines how quickly we judge ourselves and others"

Ultimately Sittenfeld’s stories revolve around how quickly — and how accurately — we judge ourselves and others. In “Creative Differences”, a crew of documentary-makers from LA and New York fly into Wichita and proceed to look around with disdain. It’s the local photographer they’re there to film who really knows herself best: she turns down a huge career opportunity when she realises that it’s essentially a commercial for toothpaste. The producer can’t understand where her “bizarrely pure . . . uncompetitive” confidence comes from, his faith in his own judgment has been so eroded. Fortunately for us, this is not true for Sittenfeld. Her ability to expose our foibles, regrets and prejudices has never been sharper.