©2004 David Sedaris; (P)2004 Time Warner AudioBooks
"In his latest collection, Sedaris has found his heart. This is not to suggest that the author of Me Talk Pretty One Day and other best-selling books has lost his edge. The 27 essays here include his best and funniest writing yet....What emerges is the deepest kind of humor, the human comedy." (Publishers Weekly)
"Sedaris is a careful writer, with a no-muss, no-fuss style that rarely misfires." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Sedaris' piquant essays are as meticulously honed and precisely timed as the best stand-up comic routines, which is, of course, what they are....Sedaris, openly gay, nervy as a tightrope walker, sharply hilarious, teasingly misanthropic yet genuinely compassionate, has a unique ability to supply exactly the right details to bring every funny, awkward, ludicrous, painful, horrible real-life moment into harrowingly crisp focus....He is mesmerizing." (Booklist)
"Sedaris has a satirical brazenness that holds up next to Mark Twain and Nathanael West." (The New Yorker)
This is my first Sedaris book. This is one of the funniest works I have listened to on Audible; even funnier than Al Franken. It is thoughtful and quick witted. I must agree that the live audience chapters are the best. I recommend this book without reservation.
If you are a fan of David Sedaris' works, you will do like I did and listen to this in one sitting (or in extended sessions on the treadmill at the gym). His wit and humor speaks to anyone with a family who doesn't match the stereotype of June & Ward Cleaver, especially if you are from the south. Listening to the audio version by Sedaris himself makes this all the more worthwhile. My only regret is that it's not longer, and Audible doesn't carry more of his works. This is an excellent book and I highly recommend it.
Another reviewer prefers Sedaris's live recordings but I have to say that the two live segments here are rather grating, a little heavy on the "knowing laughter" factor. And the transitions from studio to live are jarring. Still, awfully funny.
Being a HUGE fan of David Sedaris' writing, I have gotta say that his audio book versions are horrible when not in front of an audience. His writing is witty and hilarious, but when he records his books, his tone is so sad! It's a stark contrast from his live readings on This American Life or in concert where he's so much funnier as he sounds normal than when recording his books in studio. So, unless live, Sedaris' audio book versions don't do his work justice.
I'm admittedly flumoxed by those who describe this book as "hilarious" or "laugh out loud funny". While well written and painfully honest in it's candor and descriptions of the author's childhood, it is anything but humorous. Since when do tales of an emotionally abusive and at best disintested father, an alcoholic and detached mother, difficulties in coming to terms with sexual identity, drug use, pan handling and child neglect constitute uproarious comedy?
The only benefit that I can see of this text from a comedic perspective is that is inspires personal recognition that if the human condition has sunk so low that this passes for humor then I must be living a charmed life. I count my lucky stars that my life contains so much joy and real laughter, bearing no resemblance whatsoever to that of the author. I feel deeply sorry for anyone who can find humor in this darkly, depressing material.
Finally, let me point out that I am not discouraging anyone from reading this text for what it is... a dark, autobiographic of severely disfunctional family. But if you're looking for laughs, everyone but the severely damaged should look elsewhere.
I've found Mr. Sedaris's segments from THIS AMERICAN LIFE quite funny. Based on those stories, I purchased DRESS YOUR FAMILY. Boy, was I in for a surprise! The "fun" in Mr. Sedaris's stories has now been replaced with mean-spirited portrayals of family life and adult interpretations of the homosexual leanings of a 12 year-old. Basically, this is apparently a publication by the spirit of a pissed-off, 12 year-old gay kid. "Family listening" isn't the category for this work. Look under "sarcastic gay dark humor".
This author is as funny as hearing about the sexual exploitation of young boys in the Catholic church. I found this sick and distressing not funny. This sick writing should be under an Adult section. We listened to this as a family book on tape on a long trip and I became distress and angry with this audiobook being presented as humor.
I agree that the audio quality is poor on this audiobook as mentioned before and it somewhat detracted from my enjoyment of it. It sounds like it was recorded on a cassette and the playback has a lot of machine noise. I still enjoyed the naratives; however, I thought "Flames" was better.
Perhaps the success of his previous books made someone think that his fans would enjoy his sardonic tales of growing up gay in a very disfunctional family. What I hoped would be wry observations come across as detatched and bored, or even self-pitying. Try his other books.
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