The audio quality on this is not terrible, but not great, either. The chapters have low-budget music between them, which I found both annoying and laughable. Sedaris reads most of the book as though he is doing it just to get it over with - not at all the same fervor as his live or "This American Life" performances. Even still, he is funny, though this book ranks below "Me Talk Pretty One Day" in the humor category.
I LOVE Sedaris. No other author makes me laugh the way he does. Every time I embark on a new Sedaris book, I have a real fear that he will have run out of funny anecdotes to write about, and I'll be left searching (probably unsuccessfuly) for some other way to satisfy my laugh habit. Thankfully, I had no need to worry about this one.
Some have complained that he sounds "depressed", but I think his deadpan delivery is part of his charm. I wouldn't have it any other way (once saw Santa Land diaries performed by a flaming overexcited actor - totally annoying and unfunny).
Because this is the first Sedaris audiobook that I've listened to and it made me laugh so hard that I was a hazard on the highway. If this "wasn't the best" I can't wait to hear the others.
If you?ve ever read any of David Sedaris?s biting, laugh-out-loud wit, you?ve missed the biggest treat in the world: hearing him read his work aloud. The runaway success of his last books, Me Talk Pretty One Day and The Santaland Diaries, has put this regular contributor to my favorite radio show (This American Life) on the radar of the average reader, but many people remain woefully unaware how much funnier he is in his own voice. Sedaris writes mainly on his own quirks and those of his equally neurotic family, self-effacing satire about growing up weird in suburban America and staying that way as a traveling gay writer. Although Dress Your Family delivers more of the same, it is a somewhat lesser offering than previous works, perhaps because, as one reviewer noted, the more success you have as a writer, the less chance and time you have to anonymously gather material. Sedaris tries to split the book for his new readers and old devotees: about a third of the book, the funniest, most accessible material, is essays Sedaris lovers will have heard from other sources, like the gut busting take on Dutch Christmas, Six to Eight Black Men, while another third of new material on his family seems a bit slower and more in depth than usual, fascinating for fans, but not as great for new readers.
While some of the stories are funny, and all have some humor in them, most of them leave you feeling uneasy, like you witnessed someone abuse their child. If you are looking for laughs, try Naked, or Me Talk Pretty One Day. This book is for people who want to go beyond the humor to see what really influenced Sedaris (and it's not always funny - in fact, much of it is sad).
I have seen what may be the funniest one act play in history, "The Santaland Diaries" by David Sedaris, many times, so my expectations for this book was pretty high. What I found were moments that reached similar humorous peaks in the play, but what pleased me most was the humanistic side that was revealed.
It is key that he reads it himself-- his nasal, unpolished voice makes the revelations he offers about himself and those in his life engaging and endearing. Couple that with his masterful ability to spin a tale and you should have an entertaining as well as a moving experience.
One final bonus: each short story is a great length for audio format. One problem I have with unabridged books is that I can't review what I read last to resume where I left off. With a book of shorts, that isn't necessary.
Sedaris has such a wonderful way of forming his stories, and he is the perfect narrator for them. Though not as consistantly funny as some of his earlier material, each story seems to have a certain poignancy that reaches out to you in the closing moments, a quiet thoughtfulness like the end of a fable. I appreciated this as much as the humor, and found this audio entirely worthwhile.
Time flew when I was listening to this book. Sedaris tells stories that are funny, moving, and deeply personal, about his family, his partner, and especially himself. He doesn't just talk about the bright side, either; there's parental moodiness and neglect, at least one lost and wayward adult sibling, and his own raging case of OCD to deal with. I didn't know his family was so big because I'd only heard of Amy (whenever she's on one of the late night shows, I tune in just to see what she's wearing). Sedaris is a very talented humorist, and I look forward to reading (or listening to) more of his work.
Personally, I really liked this book and it was even better because it was read by the author. It made me laugh out loud, but I feel like one would need to have the right sense of humor to find it funny. The author has a dry sense of humor and it comes through in this book. I feel like most people can see themselves somewhere amongst this dysfunctional life.