It took me two attempts to read this book. The first time, I read a few of the stories and then put the book to one side. Given that I was already aware of Sedaris's reputation as a great comic writer, having to set the book aside was both disappointing and frustrating. I couldn't quite put my finger on what exactly I didn't like about it. Over the next few months the book kept 'nodding' at me from the 'to be read' pile until I eventually decided to start reading again from the start to see if I could get into the book properly. After the first few stories it became clear to me why I had disliked the book the first time around. There was a certain 'manufactured' quality to some of the stories as if he had deliberately set out to make something funny even if, in itself, it was not intrinsically funny. There was an exaggerated quality to man of the stories which I found irritating. After a while I got used to the style and some of the stories I had disliked at the first sitting started to grow on me.
There are seventeen stories in this collection -some of which are quite good and often entertaining. But at no stage was I in convulsions laughing at the humour. In common with a few of the other reviewers I too was dismayed to read of people laughing out loud at some of the stories. The funniest ones, to me, were 'Get Your Ya-Ya's Out' and 'Dinah The Christmas Whore'. These were very engaging and well-written. However, the title story 'Naked' was far too long and ended up being tedious.
For me, Sedaris displayed much more impressive skill when he dealt with more serious subject-matter. He seemed to be on much firmer ground and more compelling. The story 'Ashes' about his mother's impending death from cancer manages effortlessly to be both funny and very poignant. I finished it wanting to read more stories in this style rather than the forced style of a lot of the other stories.