You Think It, I'll Say It gives sustained, compassionate attention to the middle-aged women of middle America ... Her imagination is not fantastical; it is empathetic. She has a vision that ensures an inner life and a backstory that's equally convincing for Laura Bush (whose life she borrowed for American Wife) or the parents in the carpool ... That empathetic imagination is one of the defining features of Sittenfeld's fiction, along with the unfashionable valuing of workaday family relationships over glamor or romance, and unpretentious, deprecating wit that's never cruel — or at least never for long.
The title of Curtis Sittenfeld’s latest, You Think It, I’ll Say It, comes from its second story ... In it, two parents who socialize casually at their children’s shared school activities begin a private game to alleviate the boredom of another interminable soccer practice or bake sale. The only rules are wild speculation and brutal honesty ... It’s nasty and thrilling and it leads to trouble, at least for one of them. It’s also exactly the kind of scene Sittenfeld (Prep, Eligible) excels at: People smart enough to know better, and human enough to realize they can’t help it ... The majority of Think’s 10 tales (which have already been optioned for an Apple series produced by Reese Witherspoon and starring Kristen Wiig) center on a certain kind of Midwestern middle-class ennui — characters soured but not completely defeated by the Grand Canyon-size gap between expectation and reality.
Curtis Sittenfeld has a keen ear for insidiously withering remarks and an abiding empathy for their vulnerable targets. Her first collection of stories may not be groundbreaking but the 10 tales in You Think It, I’ll Say It are impressive nonetheless, at once psychologically acute, deftly crafted and deeply pleasurable ... Sittenfeld has a bead on the insecurities and bruised feelings that linger decades after high school. She’s particularly attuned to women who still feel the residue of pain from not having been pretty or cool enough to have landed on the popular kids’ mattering map ... You Think It, I’ll Say It is filled with tales that take us in surprising directions, causing characters — and readers — to re-examine their assumptions, pieties, elitism and bad behavior.