Monday, November 12, 2007

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris


Some of you may be familiar with David Sedaris. He's frequently heard on NPR's This American Life and he's written quite a few books of essays on life and culture. This is the second book of his that I've read (for the Seconds challenge nonetheless!) and I loved it!

Sedaris' writing can be enjoyed by just about anyone. His stories are personal and are reflective on his life, but in talking about his own life and his own experiences he reflects on the world and society as a whole. And he writes in a way that you'll find yourself literally laughing out loud in embarassing places. I finished this book at the car dealership today while I was getting my oil changed and couldn't help but laugh as David talked about his father hoarding food until it was rotten and not buying meat unless it was priced so low that it had a sticker on it that said "to be consumed immediately" which he would justify by saying that meat was supposed to be gray, the stores just dyed it red to make it look pretty.

Me Talk Pretty One Day is divided into two parts. The first half of the book focuses on David's life in the U.S., stories from his childhood and stories from his experiences living in New York. The second half of the book focuses on his life in France as an American. Trust me, there's lots of great commentary here, and while you'll find yourself laughing out loud, there's a bit of sad truth to so much of what he talks about. Some of my favorite parts of the book are his experiences with the French language which include a French language class taught by a French woman who's goal it was to belittle all of her students and his chapter on trying to figure out the gender of french words.

I highly recommend that if you have never read any of Sedaris' books, you pick one of them up. I'm sure that they're all equally as good. I've read Dress Your Family Up In Corduroy and Denim as well and that one was great too. I'm not usually a fan of non-fiction or of essays in general, but these do the trick!

22 comments:

Becky said...

Thanks for the review. I don't read much nonfiction, especially adult nonfiction, essay type of stuff. I just don't know who's good and what's out there. But this one does sound good. I'll have to keep it in mind if I'm ever at a loss for what to read next.

DesLily said...

oh..so we read today did we?! lol.. me too! I just finished a book today, and will now begin Beekeepers Apprentice,.. i took a moment to open it and put my book mark in it and c-r-i-n-g-e-d!.. the print is small! argh.. this one will take me a bit to get through, dang it all!

(woohoo! Carl is back!)

Chris said...

Becky, I read exactly ZERO non-fiction. Particularly essay stuff. It normally bores the hell out of me, but I picked up his first book on the recommendation of a friend and I was totally sucked into it. Love it. I'll eventually read all of his. They're great!

Deslily, Indeed, I did read! It's so sad, but with all the writing I've been doing, it took me 5 days to read a 270 page book! That's crazy. That sucks that The Beekeepers Apprentice is small print :( I hate small print! I've been known to not buy books because of it, but I know that your issues are more than just being picky like me. You'll get through it though! I'm glad we heard from Carl too! We can sleep much easier tonight ;)

DesLily said...

yeah small print..but that's this paperback one.. I wanted to send for a used harback but didn't find what I wanted, condition and price wise so I thought since this was trade paperback size, generally either the print is a touch larger ...as my luck goes it's not lol but you know I will read it, it will just take me longer lol.

There are drawbacks to saving money buy purchasing on line ..this is one of them..dang it.

man, I am glad Carl and his family are all ok !

Carl V. said...

Sounds great. I love NPR, there is so much great stuff on there. I don't listen near as much as I would like to.

Chris said...

Carl, I go through spurts of listening to NPR...I have XM in my car now, so I get XMPR which plays pretty much nothing put their talk shows all day. So I'll leave it tuned to nothing but that for like 2 weeks, then get bored with it and go back to music for a month. But This American Life is one of my favorite talk shows of theirs and I always love it when Sedaris is on.

Stephanie said...

Great Review Chris!! I love both David and Amy Sedaris!! Totally crack me up! I watched Amy's Strangers with Candy a few weeks ago...what a riot!

Nymeth said...

I think I WILL do myself the favour of picking up one of his books. I also don't read much non-fiction at all, but I have been meaning to change that. There is, of course, a lot of boring non-fiction out there, but I think I am biased against non-fiction as a whole for no good reason. The book I read recently, "Sundays with Vlad", and also this by the sound of it, prove that non-fiction can be both informative and entertaining.

cj said...

I've got to admit that I didn't find much that I thought was funny in Dress Your Family. He's just not my cup of tea but I love the fact that you finished a book while writing! Good on ya, mate!

cjh

bookinhand said...

Nice review, Chris! This book is on my list for the In Their Shoes Challenge for 2008. It was recommended to me by someone who enjoys Sedaris' work. I can't wait to read it!
Diane

DesLily said...

checked in a nano..

yeeeeeeeehaaawwww! over 22,000 wd count!!!!!

it always amazed me when i did a word count.. just couldn't believe I could string that many words together lol..

Congats! Almost half way there!!!

Chris said...

Stephanie, I'm a big Amy Sedaris fan too. I wish they were still doing new episodes of Strangers With Candy! I used to love that show. The movie was great, wasn't it?! I loved it! She's hilarious. You know I didn't realize for the longest time that they were related!

Nymeth, You would love David Sedaris I know it! He has such a great sense of humor and his stories are so entertaining. I think fantasy readers in general tend to be biased against non-fiction, though I don't mean to speak for us as a group ;) But by nature, we're attracted to fictional things...things that we can't find in every day life!

CJ, I can see how his sense of humor isn't for everybody. He's somewhat dry at times, but he just cracks me up! I've been trying to still fit in as much reading as possible...can't stop doing that ;)

Bookinhand, Oh good! I'm so glad to hear you're reading this one :) I'm sure you'll enjoy it...it's a very fun read. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every story in this book!

Deslily, You should go check now ;) I ended up over 23,000 for the day! I love the word count feature too...it's fun to see the words tally up...I'm also amazed that I've written 90 pages! I never thought I'd be able to do that.

DesLily said...

you KNOW I feel your excitemnt!!!

Laura said...

Great review. I picked up this book on impulse at a library book sale, because I'd heard it was funny. I was not aware it was in two parts, but I'm particularly interested in his observations as an American living abroad. That might move this one up a couple places in my TBR pile!

Chris said...

Laura, I hope it does move up in your TBR pile! It was a wonderful book and I enjoyed ever bit of it. I think you'll love it! Thanks for stopping by!

Lightheaded said...

I first saw Sedaris on Letterman years ago reading the one about Jesus and Easter (sorry, my copy of the book is not with me right now) and I laughed so hard I wanted to buy the book then. I started with this and then the other book you also mentioned. But the older ones are really good as well.

Chris said...

Lightheaded, OK, the Jesus and Easter part was my favorite part of the whole book! I was dying laughing while reading that! Luckily, I wasn't in a public place for that, thank god. It was a great book!

Debi said...

Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! You just gave me the perfect idea for a Christmas gift for Rich! We're total NPR junkies here. Rich loves This American Life. I KNOW he'll love this book...in fact, maybe I'll get the other one you mentioned too. (Besides, then I get to read them too, right?)

Chris said...

Debi, Both books are a riot! He has quite a few out. There's one essay in this one that had me in hysterics. They're in a French class trying to explain Easter and the concept of Jesus to a Muslim woman in French and Sedaris is translating what they're actually saying from French to English...it's worth it for that one alone as long as y'all don't mind harsh humor...personally, I love it! lol..

Debi said...

Sounds right up our alley! I just know he's going to love them (and me, too, though I suppose it's not quite appropriate to already be planning on "borrowing" a gift I'm giving someone, huh?). Anyway, I went right to Amazon after reading your post and ordered both of the ones you mentioned. Almost ordered Naked, too, but figured I'd save that one for Valentine's Day.

Chris said...

Debi, Awesome, you'll both love them...I have a tendency to buy Megan gifts that we can both enjoy as well ;) Especially when it comes to books. I haven't read Naked yet, but a friend of mine has and he said that it was his favorite of Sedaris' books. That one'll probably be next on my list!

PeachyTO said...

Great Review! I also really enjoyed this book, and am now inspired to read more by Sedaris. Although he has a lot of quirky people and personal experiences to draw from, it seems that he could make the most normal and common situation hilariously funny.

I have a review for the book here if you're interested.

Happy Reading!