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


  1. Hi, I just found your blog and I gotta say, I love the content :) Running, reading and cooking/baking are high on my list of things to do!! As far as your comments on David Sedaris - I couldn't agree with you more! I don't even think I ever finished reading "Me Talk Pretty One Day". On the other hand, I read and L.O.V.E.D. "Reading Lolita in Tehran." Keep up the great blog! It's fun to read!


  2. Hi!

    Welcome to EatRunRead - I'm so glad you like it!!! Some critiques say that Me Talk Pretty one day isn't as good as his first couple books because he is running out of good stories...but then he's published like 4 books since then, so maybe we just don't get it...

    Thanks for reading!

  3. I am a HUGE Sedaris fan. He came to Denver this fall and I dropped everything to go hear him speak (everything being swim practice, ha). It's definitely not for everyone though, so I can understand.

    Wait until December and read "Holidays on Ice"...I promise you'll LOL. Also, I recommend listening to him read one of his stories. After I heard him tell a story I always imagine his voice in my head as I read it and it makes a 100 times funnier. Try this one:

  4. In my experience with David Sedaris, I prefer his work as audiobooks - something about his nasally voice and timing work a lot better heard than read. Maybe that's because I was first introduced to his stories through NPR.

    A free audiobook of your choice - this is where I got "When You're Engulfed in Flames" -

  5. Yes! Audio books read by this author are WAY better..

  6. Thanks! Good to know - I will definitely listen to some of his stories!