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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
  • Performance
  • Story

Subtly Funny Musings on Life Experiences

This is my first Sedaris book and chuckled throughout. The book isn't a straightforward novel, but a compilation of different events/periods in his life coupled with live performances. It's deeply reflective and humorous in a subtle manner. Highly recommend and can't wait to download his other titles.

39 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • GH
  • Sherborn, MA, United States
  • 06-19-13

A constant set of chuckles and a few gotchas!

I really like this Sedaris book. True to his other novels, this is a compendium of stories. The title is taken from the first story where David, as a 3rd grader, goes to a speech therapist. You cannot help but laugh as the story unwinds and young David gets the best of the teacher in the end. And so the stories continue one by one making you laugh and every now and again he slips in a potent serious message.

Sedaris narrates his own work, so the stories comes off more powerful than a classic text might; especially in the first story where he talks about a lisping problem he had as a child.

This is a relatively short listen and it should appeal to anyone who like satirical humor drawn from personal introspection. Although many of the stories involve family members, they are not mean spirited. You feel like you are at a dinner table and just reliving the 'best of' stories with family members. I highly recommend this series of stories -- they are all winners.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Couldn't get into it

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I thought I would give this book a chance after all the great reviews. Just couldn't get into it, yes, I laughed a few times, but in between it's just a little boring to me. I listened to about half of the book and as soon as I got my next credit I just never went back...... :(

What was most disappointing about David Sedaris’s story?

That I didn't care about it, and I am really easy to entertain usually, maybe I just listened to it at the wrong time. May give it another try in a few months.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

It's just pretty monotone and slow for me.

Was Me Talk Pretty One Day worth the listening time?

As I said, I stopped after half the book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

You will ROFL

In spite of being leery about books read by their authors, I listened to this book read by
Sedaris himself. My concerns were ungrounded as I quickly realized he was as good a narrator, or maybe I should say performer, as he was an author: he kept me in stitches throughout this whole book. It is a collection of memoirs based on Sedaris' life, but told through exceptionally good writing and with insightful humor, making his drug addiction and other excesses seem forgivable. Throughout the book, I had no doubt that Sedaris accepts responsibility for his mistakes, and that somewhere along the way he decided to get clean, or at least cleaner, and make something of his life. His ability to poke fun at himself and his slightly strange family is evident as he turns event after average event into reasons to laugh out loud. Decidedly gay, he is nevertheless entertaining to all kinds of audiences.

On a personal note, although clever, the only part of the book I did not enjoy were the dog poems. Others will say that is the best part, and I understand. They just came across as smutty to me. My favorite parts were "learning to speak French," and "disdain of computers." So funny!

16 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Sedaris is great!

I was not familiar with David Sedaris before I bought this book, and I absolutely loved it. The stories are heartfelt and funny. The audio delivery is superb. I now keep an eye out for anything Sedaris has written knowing I will enjoy it. Keep the books coming! I can't wait to hear more.

39 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Pure Genius

I've listened to David Sedaris on the radio on This American Life. When I found that he had a book out, I jumped at the chance to get it on audio. Usually I find that I am disappointed when I expect so much from an author. I was not disappointed this time. I did alot of walking while I listened to this, and people gave me a wide berth because I was laughing all the time! I looked like a crazy person. Do yourself a favor and get this book. The man is a genius. Honestly the funniest thing I've ever read.

38 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


My husband and I listened to this in the car on a long road trip. We were both laughing so hard we thought we were going to have to pull off the road or have an accident. David Sedaris is hilarious in general, but listening to him read his own material takes it to an all new level. His ability to take mundane life and twist it around is part of it, but his voice and expression make it a side splitting experience. This is one of the few authors where hearing the material is better than just reading it out of a book.

24 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Cynical but Cute - Better than reading the book.

A friend recommended this book to read. It is even better on audiobook read by the author. I would not say that it made me laugh but there are some really well written and cute stories that will keep you interested.

42 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Check it out...

If you like a true story of the daily bizzare this is a great listen.

David Sedaris really gets on a roll about subjects including speed, tourists, art, and family.... Just to name a few.

Great setup with narrated stories flowing back and forth with stage comedy... Quite enjoyable!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Funny, Ha-ha

Humorous, witty, and at times both ridiculous and touching at the same time. I found it hard to relate to the author's experience of extreme ostracism from virtually all friend and family. This coupled with the author's reflexive defense-mechanism of poking fun at himself, makes me unsure exactly when to laugh and when to cry (and not in a good Andy Kaufman-esque way either). All in all, I applaud the author's attempt to overcome his childhood, but in the end, one can only come to conclusion that he's got serious issues that probably will never be worked out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful