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You Know You Want This: "Cat Person" and Other Stories

by Kristen Roupenian

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3821768,116 (3.51)3
A couple becomes obsessed with their friend hearing them have sex, then seeing them have sex ... until they can't have sex without him; a ten-year-old's birthday party takes a sinister turn when she wishes for "something mean"; a woman finds a book of spells half hidden at the library and summons her heart's desire: a nameless, naked man; and a self-proclaimed "biter" dreams of sneaking up behind and sinking her teeth into a green-eyed, long-haired, pink-cheeked coworker.… (more)
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» See also 3 mentions

English (15)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
I really loved every single story in this book. They’re all so grim and wonderful. Each one was a page turner. I enjoyed Cat Person before I purchased the book. ( )
  bsuff | Apr 6, 2023 |
Interesting. Edgy. Interesting. Definitely not a book for people who like trigger warnings.

While Roupenian isn't Saunders (yet), I really, really enjoyed reading her short story collection. Published on the strength of "Cat Person" which was published in the New Yorker and went viral, Roupenian's other stories push the boundaries, but in almost all of them, I could relate on some level to the interior dialogue of her characters. What I loved the most about her work is that she is fearless. She does not shy away from pushing the boundaries. I wouldn't say every story lands the punch she sets up, but I totally look forward to reading more of her. I was never bored; not for one second. That's not an easy feat for any writer. I'm very excited to see what else she does.



( )
  Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
*I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway*

While I will say that I liked some of the stories more than others (as is usually the case with short story collections), all of the stories were well written. They were disturbing and intense but I just couldn't look away. ( )
  TRBurns76 | Dec 27, 2022 |
Cat Person story book. Good, but a bit indulgent in that every story covers a particular, narrow perversity and it becomes a bit tedious in that way. I like a good perverse story and there are a few here- Cat person, bad boy (though that ending... really- did it have to play out like that?), the good guy, but sustaining that one theme... kind of like a theme album is a bit too much for her, I think. thinking she might have it out of her system by now? ( )
  apende | Jul 12, 2022 |
I had been looking forward to this book and when I saw my library had the audio available I clicked the borrow button immediately.

Now that I'm done, I can't say I'd recommend it to anyone. A couple of them (Bad Boy, Deathwish) made me happy to be reading until it went dark. They didn't have to. The stories could have veered a different way but the author decided to go the way she did and in the end I'm kinda sickened. If anyone figures out who narrated "Deathwish" please let me know.

The Boy in the Pool & Scarred were prob my favorites.
- The Boy in the Pool probably because it's something I've wondered about so it was nice seeing an author tell a version. #ShawnCassidy
- Scarred I appreciated for the twists that surprise the MC and us. But it is a dark and sick story.
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- Bad Boy - 3* - from book's own summary a couple who becomes obsessed with their friend hearing them have sex, then seeing them have sex…until they can’t have sex without him
The slow evolution was well written and the narrator was great. It gets pretty f'n dark tho. I think the narrator was Aubrey Plaza.
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- Look at Your Game, Girl - 3* - never trust a stranger, or can you? youthful MC talks to an overly friendly boy in the park. high risk for her.
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- Sardines - 2* - from book's own summary a ten-year-old whose birthday party takes a sinister turn when she wishes for “something mean”
Sardines, the title of the story, is a party game. Like a hide and seek party game. It has a supernatural element that was granted by the wish. I'm not sure why her mom isn't a bit more freaked out. she was expected to play also.
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- The Night Runner - 2* - A missionary is tormented.
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- The Mirror, the Bucket and the Old Thigh Bone - 2* - presented as a fairy-tale maybe. MC is in love with herself, unrealistically.
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- The Good Guy - DNF - outside my interest. Male MC. Self-reflection.
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- The Boy in the Pool - 4* - it starts with teens but we meet them again older. I liked this one quite a bit but wish there was a way to explore it more. There could be 3 points of view but we only got 1. The girls, when we meet them when they are slumber party age, watching soft porn horror movies with the sound off, crushing on one of the boys in the movie. They have an opportunity to meet him when he is closer to 40. I'm sure many of us could relate to this from one of the points of view.
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- Scarred - 4* - from book's own summary a woman who finds a book of spells half hidden at the library and summons her heart’s desire: a nameless, naked man
I liked this one quite a bit. We are with the women and her heart's desire as she works through the spell book. It gets pretty dark.
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- The Matchbox Sign - DNF - A woman's skins starts breaking out.
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- Deathwish - 2* - narrator was fantastic so that upped my enjoyment but the subject matter was not to my liking. domestic abuse.
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- Biter - DNF - From the book's own summary a self-proclaimed “biter” who dreams of sneaking up behind and sinking her teeth into a green-eyed, long-haired, pink-cheeked coworker.
Lots of time spent on the different scenarios she dreamed of doing to bite.
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- Cat Person - 3*
Re-read: Feb 28, 2022 4* ; 3rd re-read/listed Sep 27, 2023 3*

Had me thinking about the reasons I like Miranda July. This story is similar in that way. You get a cringey peek behind the curtain of a person (character).

I liked reading the Q&A, linked below, after reading the story. For me it helped to solidify some of the issues. This paragraph resonated with me "it speaks to the way that many women, especially young women, move through the world: not making people angry, taking responsibility for other people's emotions, working extremely hard to keep everyone around them happy. It's reflexive and self-protective, and it's also exhausting, and if you do it long enough you stop consciously noticing all the individual moments when you're making that choice."

Available from The New Yorker for free: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/12/11/cat-person. I also found a copy of the story, read by the author on the iPhone Podcast app.

Q&A - Kristen Roupenian on the Self-Deceptions of Dating: https://www.newyorker.com/books/this-week-in-fiction/fiction-this-week-kristen-r.....

Wow, Twist --> Article about the real-life person that the story is partly based on: https://slate.com/human-interest/2021/07/cat-person-kristen-roupenian-viral-stor....
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Read by: Aubrey Plaza, Jayme Mattler, Molly Pope, Will Damron, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Emily Tremaine, Finn Wittrock, Amy Ryan, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Corey Brill, Jacques Roy, Kristen Roupenian and Gibson Frazier
  Corinne2020 | Feb 28, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kristen Roupenianprimary authorall editionscalculated
Beljan, NellaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brill, CoreyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brown, Jasmin SavoyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Capelle, MargueriteTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Damron, WillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dudley, Olivia TaylorNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frazier, GibsonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mattler, JaymeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Plaza, AubreyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pope, MollyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ryan, AmyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stheeman, TjadineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Svensson, AmandaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tremaine, EmilyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wittrock, FinnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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A couple becomes obsessed with their friend hearing them have sex, then seeing them have sex ... until they can't have sex without him; a ten-year-old's birthday party takes a sinister turn when she wishes for "something mean"; a woman finds a book of spells half hidden at the library and summons her heart's desire: a nameless, naked man; and a self-proclaimed "biter" dreams of sneaking up behind and sinking her teeth into a green-eyed, long-haired, pink-cheeked coworker.

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