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Amusing stories, many hits, some misses.
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.