Disregard the 4 rating and make sure you listen to the sample before buying. If you can take 4 hours of 4:30, listening to exactly the same thing, buy it. I made a mistake and took the 4 rating on faith. I wanted to, because I had so thoroughly enjoyed David Sedaris Live at Carnegie Hall. Even after I listened to the download sample and finding the author's in-studio reading style to be as mediocre as the subject matter, I still bought the book. I did so because the reviews said otherwise. I reasoned that I was listening to the beginning and it would soon change. Boy was I mistaken. The drone of his recounting his HS speech problems, went on and on and on. It finally did change, but that was at the 4-hour mark. For the remaining 30 minute, the listener is once again treated to a live performance, as funny, as full of wit and as crisply delivered, as is his Carnegie Hall performance. However, 30 minutes out of 4:30, is hardly worth the price of admission. The only saving grace was I used a 20% discount instead of a book credit to buy the book.
This is my first book from Sedaris and I think I'll try another. It was entertaining throughout with many parts that made me laugh out loud. He is kind of a modern, politically incorrect, cigarette-loving, drug-addled, openly gay, extra-pathetic Woody Allen with some of the clever and biting observations of George Carlin or Chris Rock. There was one or two low points where his stories dragged, and especially the one on the metro where the ending was a major letdown. His phrasing and comic timing are excellent. His live bits were the best ones. As a narrator his voice was thin and high-pitched but it fit here... especially since these was his own true (hah, probably not without some small exaggerations) life story.
My husband and I listened to this in the car on a long road trip. We were both laughing so hard we thought we were going to have to pull off the road or have an accident. David Sedaris is hilarious in general, but listening to him read his own material takes it to an all new level. His ability to take mundane life and twist it around is part of it, but his voice and expression make it a side splitting experience. This is one of the few authors where hearing the material is better than just reading it out of a book.
David Sedaris always has me laughing and crying at the same time. His stories are so painfully real that I find myself laughing out loud and then feeling a little guilty because really the situation is sad and messed up. But it's so raw and real that it's just brilliant. You've got to laugh at life, especially when things are sad and messed up.
I found this book very boring and mundane. I didn't like the laugh-track on much of the material and was puzzled as to why these people were laughing at very ordinary material.
My wife recommended this book, which is absolutely hilarious. It also has some incisive social commentary which really works because the author?s doesn't preach or take himself too seriously. I was in complete stitches on many occasions. David Sedaris has great delivery and excellent timing making the narration very enjoyable!
David Sedaris is hilarious. His experiences growing up gay and obsessive compulsive in the South made me laugh out load. His childhod fantasy that he would some day grow up to be a cabaret star with an act consisting of his impression of Billy Holiday singing ads for local car dealerships was so insane that it made me howl and yet, I still believed it. And, amazingly, when he read the story of his music lessons, he sang the ads like Billy Holiday.
But behind the laughter is the reality and sadness that are often present in great comedy. Me Talk Pretty One Day is more than a collection of funny stories. It touches you. It makes you laugh, but you ache for this child whose elementary school thought it could "cure" his homosexuality with speech therapy.
I am no fan of abridged books. But hearing Mr. Sedaris read his own stories more than made up for anything I may have missed. And since he did the reading himself, I assume he collaborated on the process of cutting his work. This book gave me plenty of laughs on my way to work and, having heard this abridged version, I have put the book on my nightstand and plan to read it soon.
The material in this book is excellent as usual, but Sedaris as the narrator is much better performing live than he is in his monotone, low-energy, non-emotional reading of this book. At times I could not believe how non-engaging this book was, and I couldn't wait for certain stories that were inserted from live performances. Again, the material is classic Sedaris, but you may fall asleep several times as you struggle through much of this narration.
Listen to all his book samples, compare his live performances and ones on This American Life to this, and you'll see what I am talking about.
David Sedaris'collection of essays may not be, in subject matter, appreciated by everyone. His talented delivery and quirky take on life (from childhood, through several stages of personal development)do however make for amusing listening. Unfortunately, the author seems to be trying very hard to show us how clever he is. Though each anecdotal segment on its own is amusing, the work as a whole can be a little tedious. This is a great car selection -- 30 minutes here and there spread over an extended period.