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!
Don't like bad narrators ruining good writing. To be fair, liking someone's voice is subjective but good narration has sensitivity, nuance, power and a rich understanding of the text. Minor pet peeve: narrators who've not researched foreign pronunciation or elevated English. Lazy!
How did I not discover David Sedaris earlier?! L-O-V-E !!! He has inspired me to start a journal.
Very rarely do you encounter an author who describes story with such intensity and humor as to make you laugh out loud to the point of tears with every novel. David Sedaris has once again made me a sputtering idiot trying to tell people your stories. I love every word you write!
I love to read and write books. I enjoy learning, laughing and growing (mentally and spiritually).
Amused me but didn't provide me with as much funny stuff as Me Talk Pretty One Day and others he has written before. There was more just shaking my head in amazement than laughter.
He is hysterical as always. I grow to like him more with every book, and particularly love hearing him perform his own work. Can't wait to listen to the next one on my list.
British ex-pat living in NC. Have more personalities than Sybil which is reflected in my choice of books! Frustrated writer at heart.
I have discovered the cure for 'the blues'. Read/ listen to the writing of David Sedaris for a minimum of 3 hours daily and your mood will elevate to the point of pure hysteria.
My only criticism is that Audible.com carries plenty of Sedaris's work but so much of it is abridged. Frankly I avoid abridged like the plague as I prefere 'the works'.
This book should carry a warning "DO NOT LISTEN OR READ TO THIS IN PUBIC PLACES AS YOU MAY END UP BEING COMMITTED!". I know of no one who can read his work and can get through a chapter without 'loosing it' due to uncontrollable fits of giggles and loud 'guffaws'!
I especially adore the interjections of David's live performance. Personally I feel that the only people who could not love this book are actually 'dead from the neck up'.
Do yourself a favor, make that cocoa, pull out a large blanket and start listening. Oh Boy you are in for a special treat especially as it is read by the author himself!
I recently saw David Sedaris perform a book reading and I never thought that listening to his books would be as good. However, I was wrong. I found my self laughing out loud and musing to his questions that he ask himself. This book is hilariously clever and leaves you looking at the people around you in a very different way. It is a must read..or listen.