A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
While I enjoyed this collection more than Sedaris' previous book 'Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk', it just didn't rise to the levels of his great collections ('Naked' or 'Me Talk Pretty Someday'), or even his very good collections ('When You Are Engulfed in Flames' or 'Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim'). I just feel like he is retreading the same ground, picking up the same litter, and is starting that phase in his career where he is like a band from the 80s that isn't creating as much as exploiting his better work.
I hope I am being overly pessimistic, and maybe I am just jaded from the horrible audio experience my wife and I had last night listening to him at Gammage Auditorium in Tempe, AZ, but it seems that the reading typified my feelings about his book. Sedaris was reading to a comfortable group in comfortable shoes, reading comfortable stories. We all laughed at the appropriate parts, we all knew what we expected and David Sedaris delivered the goods -- mostly.
The audio quality wasn't great, but I walked away mostly amused that I somehow ended up parting with 1 credit at Audible, $15 bucks on Amazon, $45 for a live reading, and while mildly entertained ... I wasn't particularly blown away. It was like I was a beer-bellied, middle-aged man at a Journey concert. I figure I didn't pay for the new set, just for the couple hours of nostalgia at how great it was ten or twenty years ago. Now, I've just got to figure out now how much nostalgia will cost me tomorrow.
Fans of David Sedaris rejoice--this is his best collection of essays since "Me Talk Pretty One Day"--at least in the humble opinion of this reviewer. Sedaris is in top form here on topics ranging from airline travel to the pitfalls of foreign language instruction (Japanese, German, Chinese) to the casual everyday cruelty of children--and of adults, for that matter. The tone is in turn poignant and sarcastic, and always unflinchingly honest.
Sedaris' humor has an edge to it and he doesn't spare himself from its blade, but he unfailingly finds the comedy in his experiences and invites us to do the same. His turn of phrase manages to state truths while at the same time being very funny--one example I can't get out of my head is his observation that Americans see Australians as "Canadians in a thong."
While one or two of the essays had a familiar ring to them (perhaps from a version appearing on an episode of This American Life?), the material is almost all new as far as I can tell.
Sedaris' deadpan delivery style greatly enhances the listening experience--this is certainly an instance where the audio surpasses the print version. Highly recommended!
As the author begins the unavoidable transition from expounding on the indignities of an idiosyncratic guy making his way in the world most of us continue to endure, the stories have for me lost much of their humor and charm
After listening to this latest release I felt regret that I knew I would be disappointed as I had begun to sense the trajectory of his work would be like listening to a chronicle of the life of Elton John and David Furnish traveling and performing across the globe while attempting to mine humor using the same perspective he held while cleaning houses and playing an elf at Macy's. Much has been lost in translation.
Stay away from politics.
Whenever I hear his voice mostly on NPR I find a nostalgic anticipation for a good laugh. Lately however I find myself more bemused then amused.
Hysterical, sharp, witty
He has some of the best timing!
I always find David Sedaris to have a unique perspective on life. Even when he is cruel he is funny.
I teach philosophy in Maine.
Likely not. I'm a fan, don't get me wrong. But his first few books seemed more authentic since they dealt with his early life. As he has become more famous and more insulated from the ordinary world, the stories seem to come from a point of privilege.
No -- I think it would result in a bad sitcom.
His chapters on the difficulties of living abroad and speaking another language are priceless.
Yes, I have but with the caveat that they might want to skip the chapters on Sedaris' depressing family history.
Usually I don't like authors who read their own work but Sedaris' wry voice adds to the hilarity.
The chapter on going to the dentist and the doctor in France was worth listening to many times.
It's one of David Sedaris' best books. It reminds me of his earlier work, like Me Talk Pretty One Day. Funny, touching and well presented.
The Dog Poems are hilarious, and the first story is a lovely combination of his fine humor and his love for a twist in the story line.
Yes, and it's up there with his best.
Mr Sedaris show the abnormal in normal daily life. Examining his thoughts and bring us a delight to read. Otra!
If you're already a Sedaris fan, this book will not disappoint you. I find myself thinking about certain stories months after finishing it because they deal with pretty universal issues. Others, I think, "when will I ever reside in the French countryside?" Those stories are still funny, but they have a veneer of white, upper-middle class privilege keeping most of us from relating to stories about how cool he is and how quirky his family.
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls is typical David Sedaris - which I think is great. I think the short, distinct stories make it easy to start and stop. That being said, I listened to it on a solo car ride, and I felt like the changing themes kept me engaged.
I have heard some of David Sedaris's other performances. This is just as good as the others.