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Publisher's Summary

David Sedaris' new collection of essays - including live recordings! - tells a most unconventional life story. It begins with a North Carolina childhood filled with speech-therapy classes ("There was the lisp, of course, but more troubling than that was my voice itself, with its excitable tone and high, girlish pitch") and unwanted guitar lessons taught by a midget. From budding performance artist ("The only crimp in my plan was that I seemed to have no talent whatsoever") to "clearly unqualified" writing teacher in Chicago, Sedaris' career leads him to New York City and eventually, of all places, France. His move to Paris poses a number of challenges, chief among them his inability to speak the language. Arriving a "spooky man-child" capable of communicating only through nouns, he undertakes language instruction that leads him ever deeper into cultural confusion. Whether describing the Easter bunny to puzzled classmates or watching a group of men play soccer with a cow, Sedaris brings a view and a voice like no other to every unforgettable encounter.
©2000 by David Sedaris, All Rights Reserved; (P)2000 by Time Warner AudioBooks, A Division of Time Warner Trade Publishing

Critic Reviews

"At his best, he makes you laugh out loud, which indeed may be worth the price of admission." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • AED
  • chicago,il
  • 08-19-04

Me Get It

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.

18 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • David
  • kirkland, WA, USA
  • 02-03-05

Funny, poignant

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.

10 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • MEMcL
  • Carlsbad, CA
  • 04-15-05

San Diego reader

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.

13 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • chris
  • Kelowna, BC, Canada
  • 02-08-05

Funny in a pathetic roadkill kind of way

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.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


David Sedaris always has me laughing and crying at the same time. His stories are so painfully real that I find myself laughing out loud and then feeling a little guilty because really the situation is sad and messed up. But it's so raw and real that it's just brilliant. You've got to laugh at life, especially when things are sad and messed up.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Patrick
  • Freehold , NJ, USA
  • 02-04-05

Very Funny

Simply put this is one of the funniest books I have ever had the pleasure of hearing! I just wish his other books lived up to this one.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Lee
  • Farmington Hills, MI, United States
  • 08-11-13

Not for everyone (not for me)

Would you try another book from David Sedaris and/or David Sedaris?


What was most disappointing about David Sedaris’s story?

Expected much more humor; across a variety of topics

Would you be willing to try another one of David Sedaris’s performances?


You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The short story format was the best attribute

Any additional comments?

Some of the subject matter was uncomfortable

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sherry
  • Oakland, CA USA
  • 05-18-07

Good way to start your day

This was my first David Sedaris book, and it won't be my last. I would listen to this going to work and found myself smiling as I walked in the door. I don't usually start out my day in a good mood so that was a great side benefit. He is absolutely hilarious and unique and makes a great narrator of his own life. The French classes and Easter story were so funny and evocative I felt like I was there with him. You get the sense he would be fun to hang out with, like a modern version of Truman Capote, and go through these experiences with. And a family that produces both him and Amy has got to be a riot as well.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Barry
  • Atlanta, GA, USA
  • 01-18-04

Not Worth the Price of Admission

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.

20 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


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.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful