Thursday, March 4, 2010

Literary Bite: Me Talk Pretty One Day

You’ve probably heard of David Sedaris. Maybe you’ve read one of his 6 books. I mean, considering the fact that 6 of those are NYT Best Sellers, you must be living under a rock to have not read his books.

Don’t worry though, I’m here to tell you that it’s cozy under my rock, as it probably is under yours!

Sedaris is one of “America’s preeminent humor writers,” a “master of satire.” He and his sister have co-written plays, and he is on NPR, and he has been nominated for three Grammy Awards for Best Spoken Word and Best Comedy Album. So basically this guy has some serious credentials to make me pee my pants laughing. (You can read more about them here.)

A friend recently handed me Me Talk Pretty One Day, and insisted I put it on the top of my reading list. Being the obliging reader I am, I immediately complied. And though I’m enjoying it, I haven’t found myself LOL-ing all over the place…so I have to wonder, am I missing something?

Just so you know, his books are not novels, they are collections of autobiographical essays. They’re pretty amusing - I mean, the man has had quite an interesting life. I just can’t really connect with what it’s like to be a performance artist and Meth-addict in North Carolina. Or a gay boy with a lisp. Or an obsessive chain-smoker. But I can identify with his experiences trying to learn French. Living in a new language is hard, and I’m sure I have sounded as ridiculous as he does:

“I know the thing that you speak exact now. Talk me more, you, plus, please, plus.”

So the first half of the book is about his childhood and youth in North Carolina and New York City, and the second part is about his move to France.

And all you David Sedaris enthusiasts out there (because I know there are a TON of you), don’t get all upset with me for not RAVING about this book. I like it. I really do. I’ll probably read his other books. It’s just that I’m coming from reading Reading Lolita in Tehran, with is a completely different kind of awesome, and maybe a kind that I like more.

But Me Talk Pretty One Day is very good – snarky and ironic and interesting and sometimes even poignant. So give it a try, and tell me what you think!

More Stuff:

Interview with Sedaris

Book Review and Summary

Another Blogger's Review

New Yorker Interview

YouTube videos of David Sedaris

NPR clips from David Sedaris