I never read David Sedaris till now. On the advice of my sister, I requested the audiobook, which, after my experience with B.J. Novak’s One More Thing, seemed like a smart idea. After listening to David Sedaris read his own stories, I can only highly recommend the audiobooks as a pleasurable listening experience. Therefore, this review is written with the audiobook in mind.
David Sedaris is a humor nonfiction writer, and Me Talk Pretty One Day, focuses largely on his transplant to Paris with boyfriend Hugh. Several essays highlight his struggle to learn French, as he compares himself to a toddler and uses delightfully apt phrases that mirror the language learning process. My very favorite story from this collection is “Jesus Shaves.” In his language class, there comes a culture clash so deep that language cannot begin to explain the workings of faith. In it, one of Sedaris’s classmates is a young Muslim woman who does not understand the concept of Easter. Sedaris and several Catholic classmates attempt to describe the celebration for The Baby of God and other hilarious phrases, and then trouble lands when they try to describe the Easter Bunny. It was hard to concentrate on my driving, as I was laughing really, really hard.
I greatly enjoyed this collection, because Sedaris is a funny and honest writer. He uses minute, exaggerated detail to increase the humor and he sketches his family and friends in such a way as to make them vivid characters in his essays. My sister, who has read several of his collections, said that she felt his shtick is wearing a bit thin (and I can understand that), but I really enjoyed reading this as my first experience with Sedaris. And you definitely need to listen to the audiobook.