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.
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.
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” ― Dr. Seuss
This was my first David Sedaris book, and it won't be my last. I would listen to this going to work and found myself smiling as I walked in the door. I don't usually start out my day in a good mood so that was a great side benefit. He is absolutely hilarious and unique and makes a great narrator of his own life. The French classes and Easter story were so funny and evocative I felt like I was there with him. You get the sense he would be fun to hang out with, like a modern version of Truman Capote, and go through these experiences with. And a family that produces both him and Amy has got to be a riot as well.
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.
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.
Same comments on this book as I had for "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" - bought both of them before I'd listened to either one, which was a big mistake. If you're not interested in listening to "quirky family stories" then Sedaris isn't your guy. David Rakoff is a better choice.
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!