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am 25. Juli 2000
I realize that David Sedaris books are supposed to be 'really' funny, and I consider myself to have a great sense of humor, but overall I found 'Me Talk Pretty One Day' amusing at best. In this best selling book, the reader is exposed to a collection of short stories that take on a humorous spin of mundane topics, or everyday subjects that the Sedaris family has placed their own 'unique and warped' spin on.
Though most stories were entertaining, I often asked that though many of these snippets of Mr. Sedaris's life were plausible, some seem to be somewhat exaggerated or embellished. Perhaps that is the authors attempt to really try to make something funny, which ordinarily isn't. Now, don't get me wrong, there are some funny stories. The book is worth it's price in three or four of these snapshots: "I'll eat what he's wearing", "Big Boy", and the one that had me rolling on the floor crying to catch my breath "You can't kill the Rooster." This last story about his younger brother is movie material!
The collection overall covers a wide variety of subjects, however, there seem to be two recurring theme's that I observed. First, a decent portion of the book is devoted to his experiences living in France. Though one can make the argument that this book is about his life and it's funny moments, and he did actually live in France; for someone who has never been there to identify French absurdity I found myself saying "Oh, another story France, again". The redeeming aspect for me here was the story about learning French with a bunch of students (characters in their own right), taught by a dictatorial and stereotypical rude French teacher.
Secondly, the author seems to have what I would consider some issues of reservation of his life and choices. Autobiographical in nature, the stories often reflect the author's acknowledgement of his low self-worth. He often talks about how many deplorable jobs he has had, how cheap his father is, how smart he isn't, his life with an alcoholic mother, how he got mixed up into drugs and just shuffled through life. However, he takes these normally depressing attributes and attempts to shroud them in humor, hoping that the reader can look past these events on the surface and praise Mr. Sedaris for his wit. Though this does work at times, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or feel sorry for him at times.
I hope I am not giving an impression that this is a bad book. It is not. It is funny and an easy read. But it was more 'amusing' than 'hilarious' in which most people would expect.
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am 20. Juni 2000
Ok. If an author can make you laugh about a drug addicted infant being murdered in a washing machine (check out **Barrel Fever**), he's either the funniest thing going...or you're just a sick so and so...
Hmmmm. kinda makes you wonder....
Anyway, This is another hell-larious collection of stories by one of the funniest authors to grip a pen. The first half of this great book kinda extends on the Sedaris family lore that was touched upon in Barrel Fever and Naked. We learn about David's mom who perks up the Easter baskets with tobacco products, his dad who has an unusual warmth for rotting fruit, his brother The Rooster (not to be confused with the family pet) and his wickedly funny sister (amy sedaris from the comedy central show 'strangers with candy').
The second half of this riotously funny book is a string of tales of Davids (mis)adventures as a misanthropic American in Paris. Gene Kelly he is not...but that's what makes it so smashingly silly...
I really dig this book because it has that rare abiltiy to make you laugh out loud. And that's priceless in itself. I also really dig this book because while reading this, part of you will be thinking 'this boy really has problems...what a screwy family...' and the other part of you will be thinking 'Oh, my gosh...that reminds me of my sister...that reminds me of my crazy father...'. Which ever camp you're sitting in, this book will charm you right out of your seat... David Sedaris may talk pretty someday, but he writes amazingly right now.... xo
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am 27. Juni 2000
I'm withholding a five star rating because of the typo on page 269: "We used to returned home for Christmas every year . . . " Is there no one at Little, Brown and Company whose responsibility it is to make sure errors such as the above don't ruin the reading experience? I feel cheated.
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am 7. Juni 2000
In "Barrel Fever" and "Naked," David Sedaris let his imagination run wild in fictional stories. "Me Talk Pretty One Day" differs from his previous collections in that he confined these writings to autobiography. Fortunately, his essays based on truth are as hilarious (though perhaps not as wildly farfetched) as those he makes up entirely. Coming from a family that includes a "tanorexic," the Rooster (the name that DS's brother calls himself), a sister that wears fat suits and cosmetic bruises, a father that hordes spoiled fruit, and a mother who fills Easter baskets with cartons of cigarettes, he has an unusually rich background to draw from. The second half of the book deals with his life as an American living in Paris. In addition to the charming misanthropy that is his trademark, these essays provide some dead-on observations of Americans by an American.
One warning: avoid reading this collection in public if laughing so hard you soak yourself is something you might find at all embarrassing. David Sedaris is simply the funniest person writing today.
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am 19. Juni 2000
was taking this often hysterical (if uneven) collection of essays with me to jury duty.Judges seem to hate it when a juror laughs out loud for no apparent reason...until the judge is familair with the wonderful David Sedaris.
No doubt many reviewers will say that the first half of the book, which deals mainly with David and his father, is much more amusing than Part deux, which deals primarily with his life as the village idiot in France. Pay little attention. The second half pales ONLY because the first part of the book is practically flawless.
My personal favorite is the chapter in which David's sister Amy (now seen on the Comedy Central Show "Strangers With Candy") comes home for Christmas wear half a fat suit, driving their father crazy. Laugh-out-loud funny!
Sedaris is an amazingly truthful writer. If he views the world, his family harshly, its only because he values them so much. Throughout these stories, you find a sense of wonderment and joy (well, maybe not so much with the giant turd piece, but still...)
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am 23. Juli 2000
I hesitated writing an on-line review, because I wasn't sure I could possibly share how excited I was about this book and about David Sedaris. Here's a go at it though: It was hillarious, catching me off guard every other sentence. It was smart and charming, real and personal. As soon as I finished the last page, I packaged it up and sent it to my best friend in France who I know would appreciate it (a good deal of the book deals with David's adventures in France and with that language). The book gives a great introduction to this wonderful writer and wonderful person/soul. It was also great to read about his sister Amy (Jerri Blank of "Strangers with Candy"), and see how she got started. I've just finished "Naked," and am about to dive into "Barrel Fever," and "Holidays On Ice". Read this book...it subtlely reaffirms how fun humanity is!
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am 28. Juli 2000
I took this book with me on a plane trip and found myself laughing out loud! I hope the people next to me didn't think I was crazy. A couple of chapters fell flat with a dull "thud", but the majority of the book was quite entertaining. I was amused by how he is able to rank on the French culture without coming off as an entirely arrogant American. Remembering how I felt in Germany having studied the language only two years, "Me Talk Pretty One Day" really hit home. David Sedaris is able to describe situations we can all relate to, and then put is own unique twist on them. I'm now inspired to read "Holidays on Ice".
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am 1. August 2000
If you've never read David Sedaris, or heard his radio pieces (often featured on National Public Radio) then start now. A friend of mine recommended him to me and he is one of the funniest authors I have ever read. He views the world from a perspective that not only have most people never heard, they've never even conceived of it. To some, he might seem crude or offensive, but he is also sharp, witty and unique. He writes about topics that one would never expect to find an essay on, but he always hits the nail on the head. I recommend him to everyone, no matter what you like to read, because there has to be an essay in here that speaks to you.
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am 19. September 2000
I read this book based on the recommendation of a friend and enjoyed it tremendously. What an admirable trait it is to be able to laugh at one's self. Sedaris even managed to shed some worldly insight with this autobiographical piece. Very well written and funny. I particularly enjoyed his experience with the Americans and the train ride in Paris. I had a similar experience and reading about it was brought back great memories and laughter. This is my first read by Sedaris but I'm sure it won't be the last. Relax and enjoy it.
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am 6. Juni 2000
Sederis' latest collection of essays are definitely hit-or-miss. When he attempts to illustrate his theme, communication, through the repetition of key details about his life he is often merely repetitious. Yes, David, you were a rascal to take so many drugs. Now get over yourself. Still, when he choses to move beyond his own behaviors to observe others he is both scathingly funny and offers real insight into the complexity of human interactions. Overall, the book is worth reading.
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