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Me Talk Pretty One Day [Paperback]

David Sedaris
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Jun 2001

Anyone who has read NAKED and BARREL FEVER, or heard David Sedaris speaking live or on the radio will tell you that a new collection from him is cause for jubilation. His move to Paris from New York inspired these hilarious pieces, including 'Me Talk Pretty One Day', about his attempts to learn French from a sadistic teacher who declares that 'every day spent with you is like having a caesarean section'. His family is another inspiration. 'You Can't Kill the Rooster' is a portrait of his brother, who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers of food and cashiers with six-inch fingernails.

Hilarious, sharply perceptive and surpassing all national boundaries of humour, ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY is a compelling introduction or a very welcome return to David Sedaris - compared by The New Yorker to Twain and Hawthorne - who has taken America and Europe by storm.

--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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: 21.1 x 14.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 543,344 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.


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 the Audio Cassette edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A series of anecdotes� 20 July 2005
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever stuff 26 Jun 2011
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as funny written down 21 Dec 2013
By Mark DW
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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars American misadventures 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars warm, entertaining & witty 1 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Purchased after hearing 'Jesus Shaves' on Radio 4. The whole book is full of observational comedy at its best. Many laugh out loud moments.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably Funny! 16 Dec 2002
It truly takes a lot to make me laugh, but I learned not to read anything by David Sedaris in public. His skewed inside viewpoints of life are hilariously offbeat and ring true. So true, that you will be laughing out loud. Whether describing his amphetamine induced college "performance art" shenanigans or his childhood abuse by a speech therapist bent on taking glee in his curiously high-pitched lisp, Sedaris knocks you over with a literary feather laced with lead. Commentaries on New Yorkers, southerners or any other ethnic or regional folk are side-splittingly accurate. Always self-depracating, Sedaris is kind enough to include everyone in his hit-list of ridiculous human behavior. As a reference, David Sedaris' wack-job of a sister is also highlighted. It is no surprise that she went on to be a major contributor to Comedy Central's "Strangers With Candy". Don't be surprised however, if everyone you tell this book about has already read it.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it! 19 Jan 2011
By Berrama
Short chapters, really witty, had me laughing out loud -shaking with laughter - on the tube into work each day. David Sedaris is a genius.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Me Me Me 15 Mar 2014
By sally w
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A sort of autobiography but without any charm. I bought it because the reviews said it was so funny. I can see a sort of humour and there were parts that made me smile but I could not warm to the author and therefore didn't really care.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very funny
Some of the chapters had me in tears of laughter, but as you can imagine, those levels are difficult to maintain. Read more
Published 19 hours ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
Very funny - arrived in good order
Published 7 days ago by Emerald Mermaid
3.0 out of 5 stars OK ish
It's OK - writer is a bit self absorbed
Published 9 days ago by niceynice
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book
A great book for a wide variety of readers- I laughed out loud many times. Recommended to anyone with a sense of humour.
Published 14 days ago by Clare-Carroll
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
same old stuff; nothing surprising in here
Published 1 month ago by S. Rayner
4.0 out of 5 stars Me Talk Pretty One Day
I chose this book after really enjoying Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and I wasn't disappointed. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Laura J
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother
This book didn't hold my interest and didn't seem to have a point.
Published 1 month ago by Amanda Howells
5.0 out of 5 stars as I have gone on to read several more I would certainly recommend it....
This was the first David Sedaris book that I read, as I have gone on to read several more I would certainly recommend it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by bb
2.0 out of 5 stars Quick read and witty in parts
Sedaris combines observational humour with a very active imagination in a very easy to read collection of short essays. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Craig Rimmer
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy
An easy fluid read for anyone that fancies having a bit of a chuckle to themselves on the bus or train the way I did. Read more
Published 2 months ago by steven patrick
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