HBO options Sloane Crosley's bestselling "I Was Told There'd Be Cake," a collection of wry, mordantly funny essays about a twentysomething New Yorker struggling to get by in Manhattan and the bizarre dilemmas she encounters.
Carolyn Strauss (the former HBO entertainment chief who helped develop "The Sopranos," "Six Feet Under" and other programs) is executive producer under a new production pact at HBO. Crosley is represented by the Denise Shannon Literary Agency and by Creative Artists Agency on film rights. The title is published by Riverhead Books.
The back story
"As most New Yorkers have done, I have given serious and generous thought to the state of my apartment should I get killed during the day." So begins Crosley's book, and her sardonic, self-deprecating voice sweeps the reader along into a parade of absurd, strangely poignant situations: She locks herself out of her apartment (twice on the same day). She botches a first job. She loses her wallet in a taxicab. Her love life is a disaster. Could this newly minted option deal be HBO's push for the next "Curb Your Enthusiasm" or "Sex and the City"?
Strauss rejects such comparisons, saying Crosley's original style grabbed her when she picked up the paperback at Book Soup in West Hollywood. She persuaded other HBO honchos to take a look, and they snapped up the rights. Strauss said the author's quirky essays "are very funny, but they also offer a deeply human look at somebody starting their life as a young adult, and bringing all their baggage with them, and constantly sabotaging themselves."
For Crosley, a publicist at Vintage Books, the rush of favorable reviews and HBO's interest has been dizzying. But she's never at a loss for zingers when it comes to the adaptation of her book: "The world I describe is about how people live now," she said. "It's not about zany people with unlimited, inexplicable funds in an apartment somewhere." And she swears she wasn't thinking about a potential film or TV deal as she wrote the book. "I don't walk around thinking, 'Yes, this should be a young female Larry David,' " Crosley, 29, said. "But sometimes you just can't help but wonder, is this an essay I just wrote, or is it secretly Episode 1?"