I expect to listen to this book again in the not-too-distant future, because I am sure I missed a lot that I can pick up on a second time. As it is, I see so many of Screwtape's character traits in people I know, as well as in myself. Reading this book was like looking into a mirror in which one hardly recognizes oneself until forced to look long enough to see what is truly there. So often what one sees is very scary.
Unlike Screwtape, we still have the option of changing our lives for the better. That, to me, is the huge lesson of this book
In spite of being leery about books read by their authors, I listened to this book read by
Sedaris himself. My concerns were ungrounded as I quickly realized he was as good a narrator, or maybe I should say performer, as he was an author: he kept me in stitches throughout this whole book. It is a collection of memoirs based on Sedaris' life, but told through exceptionally good writing and with insightful humor, making his drug addiction and other excesses seem forgivable. Throughout the book, I had no doubt that Sedaris accepts responsibility for his mistakes, and that somewhere along the way he decided to get clean, or at least cleaner, and make something of his life. His ability to poke fun at himself and his slightly strange family is evident as he turns event after average event into reasons to laugh out loud. Decidedly gay, he is nevertheless entertaining to all kinds of audiences.
On a personal note, although clever, the only part of the book I did not enjoy were the dog poems. Others will say that is the best part, and I understand. They just came across as smutty to me. My favorite parts were "learning to speak French," and "disdain of computers." So funny!
I love Dave Berry. He makes me smile. He makes me laugh so hard I cry. And sometimes he makes me think. He can be tender and serious, as this book proves out. But mostly he just makes me happy. Sometimes I just can't take another heavy book, and I need a little fun and lightness in my life. That is the time to turn to Dave Barry.
Narrator Arte Johnson is perfect for this book. I just didn't want it to end.
My previous experience with David Sedaris' work was When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and after a few months my memory of it was that it was good. After having spent some time on other types of books, I was ready for a few laughs and thought I'd try another of David Sedaris' books.
In this book he again related his personal experiences, most of which were filled with angst. I didn't get to smile or laugh much during this audio book because the stories weren't funny, but they were great 'human experience' stories.
A few were disturbing and I couldn't relate to them because of certain belief systems I am currently operating under. I had a knot in my gut while listening to him recall the teenage boy slumber party with strip poker where another teenage boy had to sit on his lap naked. Or his recollections of panhandling as a teen in order to buy things. And, the story of the elevator ride with the young boy was too long and again full of angst.
So, the stories are great, but maybe not for everyone. And, this is certainly not one to buy if you are looking for cheerful and funny comedy to lighten your heart.
For that I would recommend some of Patrick McManus' story telling. Even though I have no interest in hunting or fishing, his stories are funny and clean and leave me with a positive feeling. After listening to Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, I didn't feel clean or happy or lightened, just the opposite.