#65 A Review of Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

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I’ve always enjoyed memoirs, and funny ones even more so.  You may remember my reviews of Augusten Burrough’s works that I’ve posted here, and how much I love these books as a whole.  Therefore, how could I not read David Sedaris’ hilarious addition to this genre?

In his work Sedaris writes a memoir of sorts, telling the reader about his upbringing via short stories that chronicle his life.  The first part deals with his earlier life in Raleigh, North Carolina and subsequent jobs that Sedaris held to make a living in New York City.  Sedaris describes how in his early years he felt that he didn’t fit in due to forced sessions with a speech therapist and music teacher that made him feel awkward.  He finds that he shares much more of his mother’s creative traits, and less of his father’s serious and cerebral attributes.  He jokes that he would gladly discuss how to achieve the perfect tan rather than talk about anything technical at a young age.  “Deux”, the second portion of the work (aptly named), describes his life after he moved to Normandy, France, with his partner Hugh.  It humorously depicts Sedaris’ failed attempts at French, and the irony of living in France with miserable language skills. 

Sedaris is a wonderful addition to the ever-growing memoir genre.  His stories are all told in a self-depreciating narrative, that makes you think through the laughter.  Some of the stories in the first half of the book deal with his life trying to make it in the art world, and the drugs he took during this era in his life.  While the creations that he and his group of friends created are hysterical, the issues he had with cocaine are really scary and show the darker side of his life.

Some of the stories are hit and miss, but it’s with “Deux” that Sedaris really hits his stride.  The first half of the book felt as if he was trying to impress you with as many crazy things as he could that happened in his early life, while “Deux” felt more like he just wanted to share his memories of France.  In all of the Sedaris books I’ve read, one story always stands out to me from each book.  For Me Talk Pretty One Day, it was “You Can’t Kill The Rooster”, which chronicled the relationship his younger brother “the rooster” and his father had.  I honestly had to wake Todd up in the middle of the night to share my laughter with him.  It was absolutely hysterical.

If you’re looking for a book that will give you a good laugh, then I highly suggest Me Talk Pretty One Day, or any of Sedaris’ other books.  His humor shines through even the craziest situations, and you can’t help but feel blessed with the life you have after reading his works.

4 out of 5 Stars

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Little, Brown and Company (2001)
Paperback 288 pages
ISBN:  9780316776967

#2 A Review of Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris

David Sedaris, well-known for his satirical writing style, is back with a “modest bestiary.”  Bestiary tales, for those unfamiliar with the term, are moral fables usually told about animals or mythical creatures.  Sedaris uses a huge array of all different animals to tell some of the funniest moral tales I’ve ever read. 

The book is chock full of these fantastically funny tales: a squirrel who dates a chipmunk, a mouse who thinks a snake is her baby, a grooming baboon, storytelling warblers, rats that live in a lab, storks learning the ropes of parenting and much much more!!

One of the most awesome things about this book was that even in its childlike style, it tackles some larger issues.  For example, one of the stories is about a female chipmunk who dates a male squirrel.  The chipmunk’s family does not agree with the relationship because they are different species.  They force her to break up with him, but over the course of her lifetime she always thinks back on him.  Some people won’t read beyond the simple humor in the story, but deeper thinkers can see this as possibly representing a bi-racial relationship.  Lots of the stories are like the squirrel and chipmunk story: on the surface they’re fun and humourous tales, but deep down they do have a moral and deeper meaning.  Having an adult write a book of morals for adults with a humorous slant is absolutely genius.  It takes the problems/issues we face as adults and shows us how to do the right thing, much like how we learned morals in our childhoods.

I would be completely remiss if I did not mention the fabulous illustrations by Ian Falconer. Falconer is most known for the Olivia series he created, wrote, and illustrated.  While Sedaris’ writing can definitely stand alone, it is Ian Falconer’s illustrations that truly take the book to the next level.  The drawings are just as humorous and twisted as the stories themselves.  Sedaris and Falconer are a match made in literary history.

If you have never read a David Sedaris book then I would definitely suggest this one as your first.  You will not be disappointed in his writing style at all. The book is a quick, fast-paced read that you won’t be able to put down.  Definitely give it a shot!

4 out of 5 Stars

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk By David Sedaris, Illustrations by Ian Falconer
Little Brown and Company (2010)
Hardcover 159 pages
ISBN: 9780316038393
To Find More Books by David Sedaris Click Here
To Check out David Sedaris’s Website Click Here

New Year; New Challenges

January 1, 2011.  It’s the official beginning of my new challenge!!  I have 365 days to read 100 books.  I’m partaking in two reading challenges this year (that I’ve signed up for so far) so 11 of those books are the Jane Austen mystery series and 20 of them will be historical fiction novels. I’m excited that I’m mixing it up this year and doing some reading challenges as well.  I think it will help keep me motivated throughout the year. 

I’m really looking forward to some of the titles that I’ve decided to read this year.  I have a very eclectic group to read so far.  Some of the titles include:

  1. The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
  2. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (It’s the 200 year anniversary of the book this year!)
  3. Little Children by Tom Perrotta
  4. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding
  5. V For Vendetta by Alan Moore
  6. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
  7. You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs
  8. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  9. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  10. The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo by Stieg Larsson
  11. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  12. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  13. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
  14. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris

I have a much bigger list than this, but I’m really looking forward to the specific books above!

So now that my new challenge has begun I would like to encourage you guys to do your own challenges.  You don’t have to read 100 books like I do, but you can do something similar to Todd and try for between 25 and 50.  You are always welcome to post on the blog thoughts about your own reading challenges or about specific books.

If you decide to do a challenge: Good Luck and Happy Reading!