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Me Talk Pretty One Day Paperback – 5 Jun 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (5 Jun. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316776963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316776967
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 767,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Sedaris lives in Paris. Raised in North Carolina, he has worked as a housecleaner and most famously, as a part-time elf for Macy's. Several of his plays have been produced, and he is a regular contributor to ESQUIRE and Public Radio International's 'This American Life'.

Product Description

Amazon Review

David Sedaris became a star autobiographer on public radio, onstage in New York, and on bestseller lists, mostly on the strength of Santaland Diaries a scathing, hilarious account of his stint as a Christmas elf at Macy's department store. Sedaris's caustic gift has not deserted him in his fourth book, which mines poignant comedy from his peculiar childhood in North Carolina, his bizarre career path and his move with his lover to France.

Though his anarchic inclination to digress is his glory, Sedaris does have a theme in these reminiscences: the inability of humans to communicate. The title is his rendition in transliterated English of how he and his fellow students of French in Paris mangle the Gallic language. In the essay "Jesus Shaves", he and his classmates from many nations try to convey the concept of Easter to a Moroccan Muslim. "It is a party for the little boy of God", says one. "Then he be die one day on two... morsels of... lumber", says another. Sedaris muses on the disputes between his Protestant mother and his father, a Greek Orthodox man whose Easter fell on a different day. Other essays explicate his deep kinship with his eccentric mother and absurd alienation from his IBM-exec dad: "To me, the greatest mystery of science continues to be that a man could father six children who shared absolutely none of his interests".

Every glimpse we get of Sedaris's family and acquaintances delivers laughs and insights. He thwarts his North Carolina speech therapist ("for whom the word pen had two syllables") by cleverly avoiding all words with "s" sounds, which reveal the lisp she sought to correct. His midget guitar teacher, Mister Mancini, is unaware that Sedaris doesn't share his obsession with breasts, and sings "Light My Fire" all wrong--"as if he were a Webelo scout demanding a match". As a remarkably unqualified teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago, Sedaris had his class watch soap operas and assign "guessays" on what would happen in the next day's episode. It all adds up to the most distinctively skewed autobiography since Spalding Gray's Swimming to Cambodia. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

Still keeps me company like a party guest who's been asked to spend the night...His essays about living in Paris are full of piss and vinegar and achingly funny. (Armistead Maupin)

Audaciously combining memoir, essay, and what has to be fiction, this fourth collection of short pieces offers pleasures normally to be found only in the best novels and the rare standup act that is actually funny. (THE NEW YORKER)

He is, simply, very funny... refusing to find anything an unfit subject for humour. (SUNDAY TIMES)

A sophisticatedly funny take on modern life. Treat yourself to this book. (IRISH TIMES) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By maria1971 on 20 July 2005
Format: Paperback
This is not a novel as such, but more a series of short stories from various phases of the author's life... and being raised by Greek immigrant parents, before moving to France, via a series of odd jobs gives plenty of opportunity for some hysterical anecdotes.
This book has the same feel as an entertaining acquaintance recounting his experiences over a drink or the dinner table, and even the events that aren't that funny by nature are transformed by this natural storyteller.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JoTownhead on 26 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
David Sedaris' observational humour is genuinely funny. His upbringing as one of a large (and quirky) family in North Carolina and his later life in New York and France provide the context and rich material for his anecdotes. Highlights include his father's idiosyncrasies, his 12 year old sister Amy propositioning her father over the phone (posing as a neighbour), and the first visit to New York of his friend Alisha's travelling companion. Lots of clever witticisms which ring all too true.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark DW on 21 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoy David Sedaris's monologues on Radio 4, much to annoyance of my family. I had been praising him and trying to get people to listen to him - thinking his dry and witty delivery was one of the funniest things I had heard in years.

However, I think this is part of the problem - I feel that an awful lot of his funniness is down to his delivery... his accent, his infections, surprise and resigned voice. All of this means ultimately, that this book was not as funny as I was oping it was going to be.

Its OK, but you almost have to imagine him saying it. It's very flat. To put it another way, if I had never heard him talking, I would never have liked this book at all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Down on 6 May 2014
Format: Paperback
It's worth more than 1 star because there were a few mildly diverting moments, but that's all that can be said for this book.

It took me a while to figure out what this book was even about. And the answer is "nothing". It's just a series of, well I don't know – articles, pieces, monologues, essays, I'm not really sure – short pieces of writing about Sedaris growing up and his struggles with language and life in general.

When I'm reading that kind of book, I expect to be drawn in to empathise with the central character. And in the entire book I don't think I felt a single twinge of empathy or sympathy for Sedaris. He presents himself as the most crass, stupid and unlovably self-centred person imaginable, living up to any number of unattractive stereotypes without remotely challenging any of them.

There's no social commentary here, no moral values, no entertainment, no development, nothing – just a bunch of witless anecdotes that have no humour and are then badly related. I really don't recommend reading this book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T. Bently VINE VOICE on 6 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to agree with the blurb on the book jacket for once, this paperback did indeed make me laugh out loud. I loved David Sedaris's accounts of his dysfunctional childhood, including the trauma of being singled out for speech therapy lessons in class and his French lessons in France. From such slender material, he has a gift for creating humour.

Unfortunately, the quality of the stories is a little uneven. I didn't enjoy his descriptions of drug-taking and there is a tendency for authors (like Augusten Burroughs and Alan Bennett also) to keep up their show of hang-dog, slacker lifestyles long after they have become successful authors, presumably living in nice apartments and not doing crappy jobs. For instance, Sedaris says he returns to visit the USA, going round 13 cities in eight weeks but avoids mentioning that this is for a book tour. Such false modesty and disingenuity can begin to grate.

However, the good parts of the book are very good indeed and this is probably a good choice to start if you haven't read David Sedaris before.
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By MaMs on 8 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback
I was recommended this book by my sister as she listens to him on pod cast/radio. I have never heard of David Sedaris. As other reviews states this book is about his own life and personal experiences, from child to adulthood. I can really relate to his sense of humor although this may not be to everyone's taste.

I personally don't read much non-fiction/biography genres. It is relatively easy to read and interesting "short stories". Perfect for taking on holiday with you! It was enjoyable to read as some chapters was quite funny and made me chuckle quietly, a book that makes you laugh is a good book in my opinion! He doesn't just look at his own life but also observes what is around him. His account on various events that has happened and his take on it is clever, funny and likable. If you can "make fun" of your life and not be ashamed of it then that's also a good thing. There was maybe one or 2 "stories" I found that either I didn't understand it or I didn't find it interesting. Other that that I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a good read, needs cheering up and wants some sort of reality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. J. Noyes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
Funny. I can't remember why I put this on the 'to read' list (was it a USA WBN choice?), but I enjoyed the few hours I spent reading anecdotes from Sedaris's life. Though occasionally harrowingly honest (the chapter relating his drug-addicted years), for the most part the stories are warm and witty and very entertaining. That so much so funny could happen to one man is hard to believe, but it did make me smile.
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