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4.1 out of 5 stars164
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 26 June 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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on 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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on 21 December 2013
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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on 8 June 2014
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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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 22 March 2013
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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on 1 October 2013
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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VINE VOICEon 6 January 2010
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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Me Talk Pretty One Day is the 6th book of collected essays by David Sedaris. In part one, Sedaris touches on speech therapy for his lisp at school, guitar lessons from a midget, inherited traits, artistic talent, sibling swearing, family pets, working as a teacher, toilet legacies, odd jobs, eating out in NYC, visitors to NYC, outward appearances, and technophobia. Part two focuses mainly on his life with his partner Hugh in France and explores travelling to France, taking French language lessons, feast days, the sex of words, Hugh's childhood in Africa, word puzzles, movie subtitles, the behaviour of vacationing Americans, epic daydreams, food economy and IQ tests. My favourite chapter was Jesus Shaves. I tried to read this to friends but dissolved into laughter every time. Sedaris has the reader constantly smiling, chuckling, giggling and often laughing out loud. Sedaris is witty and clever and reading his work is an unalloyed pleasure.
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on 16 October 2013
While I appreciate that the above word, slyly enunciated, can bring the house down in live performance, the printed page is crueller - but this, only Sedaris's third full-length volume (the first, Barrel Fever, was cannibalized by the author and, I suspect, never reprinted*), does represent a considerable improvement, stylistically, over his second, the, to my mind, deeply depressing Naked. 'Speed heats the brain to a full boil, leaving the mouth to function as a fulminating exhaust pipe.' I'll have what he's having. 'The art world was our conceptual oyster, and we ate it raw.' Neat - but not enough of it. I was pleased to learn (p33) of the existence of Sidney Sheldon. Google tells me he is the seventh best selling fiction writer OF ALL TIME. (Tolstoy is 12th, Pushkin 18th, Dickens apparently nowhere. Shakespeare is first. Shakespeare? But of course if religious works were classified as fiction, as they should be, they would no doubt carry all before them)

* I'm wrong; it's still out there
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on 18 September 2007
Me Talk Pretty One Day is the first Sedaris book I've read. It is a series of anecdotes and reminicences and, as such, the chapters are rather uneven. The best of them (towards the end of the book) are genuinely laugh-out-loud funny; when Seadris pulls it off he creates that magical mixture of insightfulness, charm, bitchiness and wit that makes you wish he were singing for his supper at one of your dinner parties.

Clear-eyed observation of both the eccentricities of family and friends, and the moments we all can relate to, however obliquely, is at the base of the best humour and Sedaris definitely has this.

Inevitably, he does not quite pull it off with all his stories, which can then seem slight, rather staged and a little mannered.

I've given him 4 stars because I did laugh out loud at one point, which is an amazingly difficult trick to pull off. That said, I would have given 3.5 if that was possible, because there were moments early on when I was not really sure why I was continuing with the book.

On the plus side, it is easy to dip in and out of, so recommended (even if not highly) for travelling or for when you want something you can pick up and put down.
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