UK Kirkus Review »
'Welcome to the wonderful world of America's foremost humorist' gushes the back cover, 'where life is littered with idiosyncratic delights.' Luckily, Sedaris's fourth collection of deadpan semi-autobiographical pieces delivers much more than this anodyne blurb suggests. Sedaris is Edgar Allen Poe as adapted by John Waters, or an episode of Seinfeld scripted by Flannery O'Connor. No wait, he's Charles Adams meets The Simpsons. At any rate, 'idiosyncratic' doesn't quite describe him. Sedaris begins by recounting his childhood battle with a speech therapist. A confirmed lisper, he outwits the enemy - and increases his vocabulary - by avoiding words that contain the letter 's'. Young David then terrifies his guitar teacher, a chain-smoking macho midget, by singing advertising jingles for processed meat in a Billie Holiday voice. The alternative world of David Sedaris is peopled with the damaged and damaging, but somehow he's witty with it. I gawped at his affinity for skin rashes, war wounds and rusty cranial saws (I wasn't kidding about Charles Adams) and nodded appreciatively as he outlined his contempt for computers and cyberspace. The Sedaris family provides a lot of raw comic material: 'the Rooster' (David's ultra foul-mouthed brother), his wacko sister (who jumps out of a subway car with a cheery 'Good luck beating that rape charge, David') and his jazz-obsessed father (unnaturally close to the family's Great Dane). Eventually he moves from North Carolina to New York and then from the Big Apple to France. The French chapters inject a new ironic energy as he attempts to learn the language ('me talk pretty one day') and is called upon to defend US foreign policy at dinner parties where everyone has had too much to drink. The chapter in which he's mistaken by an American tourist for a Parisian pickpocket is a particular delight. (Kirkus UK)
US Kirkus Review » The undisputed champion of the self-conscious and the self-deprecating returns with yet more autobiographical gems from his apparently inexhaustible cache (Naked, 1997, etc.). Sedaris at first mines what may be the most idiosyncratic, if innocuous, childhood since the McCourt clan. Here is father Lou, whos propositioned, via phone, by married family friend Mrs. Midland (Oh, Lou. It just feels so good to . . . talk to someone who really . . . understands). Only years later is it divulged that Mrs. Midland was impersonated by Lous 12-year-old daughter Amy. (Lou, to the pranksters relief, always politely declined Mrs. Midlands overtures.) Meanwhile, Mrs. Sedarissoon after shes put a beloved sick cat to sleepis terrorized by bogus reports of a miraculous new cure for feline leukemia, all orchestrated by her bitter children. Brilliant evildoing in this family is not unique to the author. Sedaris (also an essayist on National Public Radio) approaches comic preeminence as he details his futile attempts, as an adult, to learn the French language. Having moved to Paris, he enrolls in French class and struggles endlessly with the logic in assigning inanimate objects a gender (Why refer to Lady Flesh Wound or Good Sir Dishrag when these things could never live up to all that their sex implied?). After months of this, Sedaris finds that the first French-spoken sentiment hes fully understood has been directed to him by his sadistic teacher: Every day spent with you is like having a cesarean section. Among these misadventures, Sedaris catalogs his many bugaboos: the cigarette ban in New York restaurants (Im always searching the menu in hope that some courageous young chef has finally recognized tobacco as a vegetable); the appending of company Web addresses to television commercials (Who really wants to know more about Procter & Gamble?); and a scatological dilemma that would likely remain taboo in most households. Naughty good fun from an impossibly sardonic rogue, quickly rising to Twainian stature. (Kirkus Reviews)
Book Review: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris - Reviewed by CloggieA (15 Aug 2011)
Me Talk Pretty One Day is the 6th book of collected essays by David Sedaris. In part one, Sedaris touches on speech therapy for his lisp at school, guitar lessons from a midget, inherited traits, artistic talent, sibling swearing, family pets, working as a teacher, toilet legacies, odd jobs, eating out in NYC, visitors to NYC, outward appearances, and technophobia. Part two focuses mainly on his life with his partner Hugh in France and explores travelling to France, taking French language lessons, feast days, the sex of words, Hugh’s childhood in Africa, word puzzles, movie subtitles, the behaviour of vacationing Americans, epic daydreams, food economy and IQ tests. My favourite chapter was Jesus Shaves. I tried to read this to friends but dissolved into laughter every time. Sedaris has the reader constantly smiling, chuckling, giggling and often laughing out loud. Sedaris is witty, and clever and reading his work is an unalloyed pleasure.