Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris

I knew absolutely nothing about David Sedaris until I was sent some of his books from the lovely people at Little Brown. Actually that’s not technically true. I knew that he was meant to be very funny and that he became well known through the radio and gained a regular slot which he read some of his diary excerpts on which then landed him a book deal. So ok I knew a fair bit, I also knew that I had seen, and this is no word of a lie, six different people reading this on the tube in the last week. I told you I would be doing some research on what people are reading on public transport and the results will be coming soon. What seemed promising too was that two of the six people were chuckling to themselves.

Me Talk Pretty One Day is actually the fourth collections of essays, diaries and thoughts of David Sedaris. (I know I normally read everything in order but after seeing this so many times I gave in.) This particular collection is actually a collection of two halves. The first looking back on David’s childhood and education (the later seems to be a theme in the book) and in particular the relationships he had with his parents. The part about his non stop swearing brother actually had me laughing out loud on the tube so that’s a good sign. The second half of the book focuses more on his time living in France with his partner, a place he feared and then came to love even if he didn’t love the language.

Throughout the book I kept thinking of the books by Augusten Burroughs, though Burroughs had a far harder and more bizarre childhood they have both fought addictions and ended up living quite unusual lives, I did feel that with Burroughs you laugh a lot more if not always for the right reasons. The humour in Me Talk Pretty One Day is definitely there but some of the essays did leave me a little cold whilst others had me crying with laugher so it was a little hit and miss. I also think that Burroughs talks more openly about his sexuality. David Sedaris doesnt shy away from it at all by any means but it isnt in the novel as much as I expected which isnt a bad thing. I wonder if the other books are more insightful into that. As it stands its a great look at familys, education and learning.

Overall though it’s a great collection of funny tales, there has been some dispute over how all of these things can be true and have possibly happened in some ones life especially enough to fill over five books with. I don’t agree with that I think that people do have strange things happen in their lives and you certainly meet interesting characters day to day. I’d recommend this as a read a long side something really heavy (like Anna Karenina or such like) so you can read an essay or two have a giggle with a nice cup of tea in between something else. I enjoyed it though quite a lot even if having just read this back I sound like it wasn’t my favourite and I am definitely looking forward to reading some more of his work.

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~ by greatgayreads on June 13, 2009.

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