If you've never heard David Sedaris read one of his essays on This American Life or listened to one of his other books, you should know he is one of the most hilarious storytellers in America today. Given that, this book does not come close to the brilliance of Me Talk Pretty One Day or some of the pieces in Holidays on Ice. Sedaris is most enjoyable when reading before a live audience, as he feeds off the excitement of the crowd. For that reason, the Live at Carnegie Hall performance is a great place to start. For a non-live performance, Me Talk Pretty is the best. There are some gems here, but this is not his best work. Many of the stories simply made me sad, although I could still see humor in the way they are told.
I've read all of David Sedaris's books, and this one is my favorite. Naked is just as funny, but in this newest title, he manages to be both side-splittingly funny and touching at the same time. This is a collection I have no doubt I'll enjoy again and again.
This is overall really good, but there are some of the stories (unfortunately including several of the first ones) that aren't so funny, just kinda thoughtful and sad. But overall there are some hilarious stories, especially his live ones, I totally laughed out loud at times. Worth getting the whole book, but may be some of his others are better.
I finally finished listening to this audiobook last night. I've been trying to ration myself to
one essay a night to make it last longer...but I splurged last night and listened to the last
three. I think Sedaris is hilarious and poignant at the same time. While listening to
these stories, I'd find myself laughing so hard my sides hurt, and then having to wipe the
tears from my eyes a few minutes later.
I think this is a slightly kinder, gentler Sedaris than the one who wrote The SantaLand
Diaries, but he's still just as sharply observant and critical of human nature (and of himself
and his family) as he's always been. Sedaris's mother and father (Sharon and Lou), all his
sisters (Gretchen, Lisa, Tiffany and Amy) and his brother Paul make appearances. He
picks them apart unmercifully (especially poor Paul, poster child for rednecks), but still
manages to convey his love for them.
This is the first time I've "read" Sedaris as an audiobook, and I'm now convinced that that's
the *only* way to read him.
David Sedaris is an excellent story teller. He did a very good job narrating his own book, which is always a risk as this doesn't always work out well for authors. I very much enjoyed his book.
The reason I rated this a 4 and not a 5 is the really long comedy show near the end of the book. It threw me off track as it feels like I'm smack in the middle of a late-night comedy show (complete with drunken laughs and hoots). I wonder if they wanted to add more time to the audio as it takes up almost an hour of it!
This is my first Sedaris book. This is one of the funniest works I have listened to on Audible; even funnier than Al Franken. It is thoughtful and quick witted. I must agree that the live audience chapters are the best. I recommend this book without reservation.
If you are a fan of David Sedaris' works, you will do like I did and listen to this in one sitting (or in extended sessions on the treadmill at the gym). His wit and humor speaks to anyone with a family who doesn't match the stereotype of June & Ward Cleaver, especially if you are from the south. Listening to the audio version by Sedaris himself makes this all the more worthwhile. My only regret is that it's not longer, and Audible doesn't carry more of his works. This is an excellent book and I highly recommend it.
Another reviewer prefers Sedaris's live recordings but I have to say that the two live segments here are rather grating, a little heavy on the "knowing laughter" factor. And the transitions from studio to live are jarring. Still, awfully funny.
I'm admittedly flumoxed by those who describe this book as "hilarious" or "laugh out loud funny". While well written and painfully honest in it's candor and descriptions of the author's childhood, it is anything but humorous. Since when do tales of an emotionally abusive and at best disintested father, an alcoholic and detached mother, difficulties in coming to terms with sexual identity, drug use, pan handling and child neglect constitute uproarious comedy?
The only benefit that I can see of this text from a comedic perspective is that is inspires personal recognition that if the human condition has sunk so low that this passes for humor then I must be living a charmed life. I count my lucky stars that my life contains so much joy and real laughter, bearing no resemblance whatsoever to that of the author. I feel deeply sorry for anyone who can find humor in this darkly, depressing material.
Finally, let me point out that I am not discouraging anyone from reading this text for what it is... a dark, autobiographic of severely disfunctional family. But if you're looking for laughs, everyone but the severely damaged should look elsewhere.