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Me Talk Pretty One Day Paperback – 3 Jan 2002
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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 the Audio CD 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)
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Top Customer Reviews
It comprises a series of short, drily comic observations about his life and family, including his retired IBM engineer father, his foul-mouthed little brother, and his actress sister, Amy. The book is split into two sections, the first set largely in America, and the second focusing on a more settled life, following a move to France with his partner.
Though I was familiar with Sedaris' insouciantly camp tone of voice from his appearances on BBC radio, his past as a drug-addict, alcoholic and virtual down-and-out was unknown to me. He treats his self-degradation with as much waspish wit as he does his adventures on public transport, visiting the cinema, or, in a stand-out chapter, as a diner in fine restaurants (the kind whose menu includes "knuckle of flash-seared crappie served with a collar of chided ginger"). I could have done without the ruminations on the unflushable contents of a friend's toilet, however.
The writing is extremely witty, its focus on the inconsequential masking a deep passion for self-examination. There is a strange profundity in its very triviality.
There isn't a great deal of warmth or wisdom here, but it's an excellent read.
Picked this up on a daily deal. Very funny and you can just dip into it whenever you like for a guaranteed laugh.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
quite amusing in parts and would recommend to anyone who has a subtle sense of humourPublished 2 months ago by katannmandu
I thought this book would be funnier - and it wasn't. It's quite an interesting read, but I find the self absorption of the author just a little repetitive.Published 2 months ago by Sally