David Sedaris,
Me Talk Pretty One Day
(Back Bay, 2001)

This memoir by David Sedaris is Garrison Keillor crossed with Augusten Burroughs. More drugs than Keillor, but less depravity than Burroughs. It's non-linear and each essay is a portrayal of an event in the life of Sedaris or a family member. As you read it, it becomes apparent some embellishment is going on. It's a shared wink, I think, between author and reader, and I didn't mind. He's a James Thurber for our age.

One of the shortest essays, "Big Boy," is the funniest. At a party, he has to go to the bathroom. Once there, he discovers that the toilet contains a huge, uh, product that will not flush away. Someone knocks on the door and he panics, not wanting the next visitor to think said product is his. What to do? Well, there's a window....

In his portrayal of the childhood and teen years of his sister, actress Amy Sedaris, he shows that she was headed to the stage at an early age. She wore fat suits to dismay her father. She made phone calls, imitating the voice of someone else. She would put fake cuts and bruises on her face and when asked how she got them, would reply, "I'm in love!"

His mockery of New York restaurants that offer absurd, overpriced meals with ridiculous ingredients stacked vertically on the plate is priceless. After the meal, he buys a hot dog, relieved to be eating something "horizontal."

David Sedaris is one funny guy.

review by
Dave Sturm

2 January 2009

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