For the reader, going astray means getting happily lost in the prose of Caldwell’s daring, compelling, and graceful debut.
-Publisher’s Weekly: Read the complete review here
Legs Get Led Astray swells with a bruised innocence and self-indulgence reminiscent of two great story collections that preceded it, Susan Minot’s Lust and Mary Gaitskill’s Bad Behavior. Like theirs, Caldwell’s is a contemporary slice of sex and struggle.
-Bitch Magazine (Print: Buy it here)
By exuberantly embracing her life, Caldwell invites the reader inside her emotions, experiences, memories, and reflections. She encourages the reader to enter her body. Her writing is a celebration of life, not a dissection. That difference is a relief. Caldwell lives without apology. It makes her collection stand apart from those that might be read as more traditional coming-of-age stories.
-The Collagist: Read the complete review here
Caldwell’s grasp on her own past, her ability to remove the lens of hindsight that sometimes fogs non-fiction makes this collection one of the best I’ve read this year.
The essays in this collection are as exuberant as they are sad. Her storytelling is as vulnerable as it is bombastic. These essays roll in gangsta, but wear freshly picked daisies in their hair.
Ultimately, it’s not Caldwell’s specific experiences that generate this resonance in us, it’s her precision of observing herself that allow us to turn the same microscope on ourselves. The same might be said of all effective memoir.
-Metroland: Read the complete review here
Legs Get Led Astray is daring, funny, occasionally brilliant, and, above all, eminently readable.
-The Faster Times: Read the complete review here
An essayist whose work has appeared on The Nervous Breakdown and The Rumpus, Caldwell’s nonfiction reads like the bucket lists of a rebellious early-twenties indie darling. She writes about heroin hangovers and attending orgies. She’s frank about her sexual exploits and masturbation tendencies. She captures an essence of trying to find her identity in an oasis of young bodies doing the same, testing mortality and making enough money for cheap rent and bodega Zebra cakes. Call it the haphazard lifestyle diet.
-Sabra Embury, The L Magazine: Read the complete review here
A sort of “autobiography as mixtape,” Chloe Caldwell’s Legs Get Led Astray is a slim, 157-page book of personal essays that are brooding with sex and longing and repetition. It’s also full of music, with B-sides like Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, Wilco, Rufus Wainwright, Tori Amos, and Okkervil River, whose lyrics in “Last Love Song For Now” are where Caldwell‘s title comes from.
“This collection is hot and unpredictable: filled with the kind of energy that makes everyone envious. Attitude and presumption and wit.”
-Ringside Review: Read the complete review here
“Her personal essays in Legs Get Led Astray lie in the same vein of feeling so intensely that it spills like filled rain gauges into your hands. She writes of so many normal things—lovers, brothers, children, camp, carrots, sex. But it is transporting; it is poetry. It is repetitions of magics in what happens to everyone, secrets that are so intensely and specifically personal that they are all of ours.”
-The Juvenilia: Read the complete review here.
“There’s a density to the ways in which Chloe feels things.When the part of her that reads diaries she’s not supposed to read and writes diaries she can’t help but write meets the part of her that is reaching for truth beyond feeling, the results are deadly.”
-PANK Magazine: Read the complete review here.
“Annoyed as I was at times by how enamored Caldwell is with her own edginess, I was equally compelled by the way she relentlessly ferrets out the truths of her relationships.”
-The Portland Mercury: Read the complete review here.
“Caldwell examines her relationships while she’s still in the throes of them. Her essays talk about lovers, yes, but also about close friends, her parents, children she has cared for, and more than one instance of the Strand bookstore. Years of retrospect do not factor in here much — her feelings are still raw and maybe a little jumbled and maybe a little closer to the direct noise inside anyone’s brain. Her heart swells and stretches, contracts and fractures, and her honesty is refreshing.”
-Persephone Magazine: Read the complete review here.
July 2010: Reader Meet Author Interview @ Orange Alert