I've been a fan of David Sedaris since the late 90s and I love Barrel Fever, Holidays on Ice, Naked, and Me Talk Pretty One Day. I loved his outrageous humor and his eye for the grotesque and absurd. After that book I thought he started moving into more somber, earnest territory, and also started repeating himself. The only essays in this book that seem funny are the live readings where you hear audience laughter punctuating his remarks.
For a fan, this book was really repetitive. He's studying languages, reminiscing about his dad (who now sounds downright abusive rather than ridiculous), talking about Paris, making fun of homophobes, telling stories about book tours, etc etc.
Slowed down and subdued. It's been strange to hear his reading voice has gotten slower and calmer with each new audiobook.
It's disappointing -- I loved his manic, unmistakable voice in the earlier books. How did he describe it? "With its girlish timbre and high, excitable pitch". Voices do get deeper with age, but it sounds like he's working to "sound less gay". Sounds like the speech therapy he made fun of in "Go Carolina" has finally worked :-(
Not unless he finds some new things to write about.
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.
If you like David Sedaris, you won't be disappointed by his latest work. Quirky, funny, and self-effacing as always, Sedaris is more focused on the world around him than he is focused on himself or his family. There is still some of his trademark self-absorption and family analysis, but he seems to be slowly sorting out all of his self-loathing and lingering family resentment, and he now has energy and attention to devote to other topics. Interestingly, in terms of family analysis, he has turned his attention on his father and away from his mother.
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!
I'm guessing this wasn't the strongest Sedaris book I could've started with, having not read any of his other titles. He seems to be at his best when he's talking about topics either unabashedly gross or wildly uncouth (e.g., severed limbs, colonoscopies, etc.), much like he was on David Letterman however many years ago when describing his book tour exploits with the Stadium Pal (which also happened to be the first time I was exposed to his style of writing and humor). There are plenty of strong moments here but also some duds.
While I'd come back for another book of his--even his lows are markedly higher than the highs of other writers in this genre--it probably won't be for a while, and I'll ask around a bit more for the best of the best.
Recommended for those already a fan of David, but newcomers might want to look to his earlier work.
N/A. (This was my first.)
David's wit and charm come through as he reads, even if some of the subject matter isn't quite as strong as it could be.
Mostly, though some of the chapters didn't resonate with me as much as I was hoping them to.
Not in a million years
What genre is this s**t anyway?
The pain ended when I stopped listening to it.
I would recommend people check out Davi'd's earlier books such as 'How to Dress your Family..." 'Holidays on Ice' 'Me Talk Pretty One Day' as those are hysterical, insightful, charming, interesting.
I love hearing David voice his own stories, he is a great narrator for himself.
no - this book gave me no overwhelming feels as most of his other books have.
I was let down by this book sadly. I will however, still read/listen to everything David Sedaris writes! He is amazing!
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.
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.