David Sedaris made his debut on NPR's Morning Edition with "SantaLand Diaries", recounting his strange-but-true experiences as an elf at Macy's, and soon became one of the show's most popular commentators. With a perfect eye and a voice infused with as much empathy as wit, Sedaris writes stories and essays that target the soulful ridiculousness of our behavior. Barrel Fever is like a blind date with modern life, and anything can happen.
©1994, 1996, 1997, 1998 David Sedaris; (P)1998, 2001 Time Warner AudioBooks
"Extremely, relentlessly funny." (Booklist)
"David and Amy Sedaris have a deadpan delivery as ironic as the words they read. The two of them create a nuclear barrage of humor you could never replicate by reading this material on your own." (The Boston Globe)
As usual, David Sedaris is hilarious, smart, and just fabulous to listen to. However, some of the stories were uninteresting and unfunny-- a first for me reading his work. And his sister got to be just irritating with her ridiculous (not in a good way) accents. I fast forwarded through a large segment of the second half.
I understand this audiobook is abridged, but not including Santaland Diaries (by far the most popular story in the printed book) is bizarre. The publisher's description used by Audible.com is two paragraphs, the first paragraph includes a description of Santaland Diaries and the second paragraph is almost completely devoted to Santaland Diaries. And one of the other stories included in the audiobook even references Santaland Diaries. Yet no Santaland Diaries in the audiobook, and no warning of this from Audible.com.
Anyway David Sedaris is great as always and his reading is entertaining and fun but it's tough to recommend an audiobook of stories missing the best and most popular story in the printed book. I was on a road trip and promised my friend I would have Santaland Diaries audio for the ride. It was a little disappointing to sit through the recording while driving and wondering where Santaland Diaries is, so I emailed Audible.com support to let them know they might want to change the audiobook's description on their website.
Their email back to me (abridged, natch):
"Dear Eric, (not my name)
After reviewing your account and the title that you mentioned, it appears that the title maybe missing a section as the title is a revised and curtailed edition of the original version. However, let me further explain further details surrounding titles that are 'Abridged'.
An abridged book is usually a shortened version of the original written text. It is condensed by removing some of the original plot details, yet retaining the sense of the entire book."
I wrote them back again further explaining that I want to point out that this download is bound to disappoint most people who buy it with their current description and I did not get a response from their condescending computer customer support who (I guess?) calls everyone Eric.
After reading "Dress Your Family..." and "Me Talk Pretty...", which are both excellent, I was ready for more Sedaris. This is only 3 hours long but I figured it might be some of his live routines, which are usually the funniest. There were none.
It's hard to believe this is written by the same guy. The first 2.5 hours are dull, consisting of a series of stories which are bizarre but not funny at all. They are perhaps meant to be shocking because they were "gay" but I found them boring. I kept wanting to skip forward, but I was waiting for the jokes because sometimes he lets his stories build. I was always disappointed. The last half hour is better but still not up to his other material.
I'm not sure of the chronology of this, but I think it is some of his earliest works, long before he sharpened his wit and perfected his delivery. It feels like early Beatles bootlegs, which no one but die hard collectors would care about. Someone figured he could make a buck by digging up Sedaris' earliest works once he became famous. Save your credit for his more recent stuff.
A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
Oh Mr. Sedaris, I am beginning to tire of you. Barrel Fever lacked the freshness and satire of your previous work, and was beyond pushing limits; it was down right inappropriate and sad at times. I was happier when I finished the book, and previously I could hardly put a Sedaris book down. Better luck next time.
I love them all
I can listen over and over and still enjoy
Davis Sedaris was younger when he wrote this book and his sense of humor is dark and hilarious. LOVE this book!
i love david sedaris. but this book was clearly one of his first. not funny at all. i was so bored. the only reason i kept at it was because he had been so funny in his previous books, i figured surely there would be nuggets of goodness somewhere. if you are a fan of sedaris, i recommend any of his other works, but not this one.
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