But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
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!
the fact that the author narrates the story adds a lot to the overall effect of the audio book. I highly recommend this work for anyone who likes David Sedaris, comedic essays, and philosophical musings.
David Sedaris, thank you. You make delivering mail so interesting. I will be getting more of your books so you can accompany my girlfriend and I while we drive for 5 hours a day. Your voice is so damn calming. I hope you are enjoying life, and to everyone reading this, please, if you take a step into David's life, you will be hooked.
Create a stronger theme from the collection of essays.
His performance is fine and was probably the best part of the audiobook.
These essays lacked focus, and I still don't fully understand the connecting between the title and all the essays in the book.
I did enjoy some insights, but it was overall quite pretentious with little relating humor.
As my first audible download, Sedaris did not disappoint as I prayed for traffic and scowled at green lights while listening in my car. I think I cried once or twice, both from laughing and from a warmed heart.
The previous reviews rated it so highly I assumed it would be funny, I only laughed once in the first hour of the book so I have since stopped wasting my time reading the rest. The morbid and outrageous attempts at levity fell flat.
Currently working my way through all of David Sedaris's books. This one is a little more serious and dry in tone than some of the others I've listened to, but I still enjoyed it and found myself laughing out loud in some places. His writing is witty and entertaining as usual and contain the emotion and honesty one comes to expect from Sedaris.