Expected much more humor; across a variety of topics
The short story format was the best attribute
Some of the subject matter was uncomfortable
I have long been waiting to read this book, and thought I would give it a listen instead. However, it was simply awful. There were parts that were somewhat funny (I did laugh out loud a few times) but as jokes started recycling in different formats, I grew disinterested. The combination of live telling and reading didn't help, nor did the fact there's no order or theme to the listen. It jumps around through time, location and style. Maybe the author forgot that he had written some of the things in an earlier story and rewrote them? Other things about him changed-- in one part he was obsessed with medical French, in another he was afraid to go to the doctor for fear of not understanding what they would tell him.
I would not recommend this. I was very disappointed. It was bizarre and poorly executed.
I found this book very boring and mundane. I didn't like the laugh-track on much of the material and was puzzled as to why these people were laughing at very ordinary material.
A dry sense of humor is required to really enjoy David Sedaris' self-deprecating stories. The sections of tape he recorded in front of a crowd were probably some of my favorites. I'll definately listen to it again to catch what i may have missed. And I'll recommend it to others.
Disregard the 4 rating and make sure you listen to the sample before buying. If you can take 4 hours of 4:30, listening to exactly the same thing, buy it. I made a mistake and took the 4 rating on faith. I wanted to, because I had so thoroughly enjoyed David Sedaris Live at Carnegie Hall. Even after I listened to the download sample and finding the author's in-studio reading style to be as mediocre as the subject matter, I still bought the book. I did so because the reviews said otherwise. I reasoned that I was listening to the beginning and it would soon change. Boy was I mistaken. The drone of his recounting his HS speech problems, went on and on and on. It finally did change, but that was at the 4-hour mark. For the remaining 30 minute, the listener is once again treated to a live performance, as funny, as full of wit and as crisply delivered, as is his Carnegie Hall performance. However, 30 minutes out of 4:30, is hardly worth the price of admission. The only saving grace was I used a 20% discount instead of a book credit to buy the book.
As always, David Sedaris shares his wry, funny, and poignant views of the world. He has an ability to take note of common experiences and find something funny in them. His deliverance is excellent and we prefer to listen to him tell his stories in his own voice as opposed to reading them ourselves.
Same comments on this book as I had for "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" - bought both of them before I'd listened to either one, which was a big mistake. If you're not interested in listening to "quirky family stories" then Sedaris isn't your guy. David Rakoff is a better choice.
This is my first book from Sedaris and I think I'll try another. It was entertaining throughout with many parts that made me laugh out loud. He is kind of a modern, politically incorrect, cigarette-loving, drug-addled, openly gay, extra-pathetic Woody Allen with some of the clever and biting observations of George Carlin or Chris Rock. There was one or two low points where his stories dragged, and especially the one on the metro where the ending was a major letdown. His phrasing and comic timing are excellent. His live bits were the best ones. As a narrator his voice was thin and high-pitched but it fit here... especially since these was his own true (hah, probably not without some small exaggerations) life story.
The material in this book is excellent as usual, but Sedaris as the narrator is much better performing live than he is in his monotone, low-energy, non-emotional reading of this book. At times I could not believe how non-engaging this book was, and I couldn't wait for certain stories that were inserted from live performances. Again, the material is classic Sedaris, but you may fall asleep several times as you struggle through much of this narration.
Listen to all his book samples, compare his live performances and ones on This American Life to this, and you'll see what I am talking about.
David Sedaris'collection of essays may not be, in subject matter, appreciated by everyone. His talented delivery and quirky take on life (from childhood, through several stages of personal development)do however make for amusing listening. Unfortunately, the author seems to be trying very hard to show us how clever he is. Though each anecdotal segment on its own is amusing, the work as a whole can be a little tedious. This is a great car selection -- 30 minutes here and there spread over an extended period.