“How did you get out of the 90s without knowing who David Sedaris is?” Such was the comment in a text conversation I had with fellow Cannonballer, Emmalita, when I mentioned I had just started this book. A few days later, the text went like this:
Me: “Really enjoying David Sedaris. Super snarky.”
Emmalita: “Honestly, that’s why I was surprised you hadn’t read him yet. He is so up your alley.”
And that exchange tells you a lot about the book. And also about me, I suppose.
I came across David Sedaris several months ago while listening to an old NPR story from “This American Life” in which Ira Glass visits Sedaris while he is living in Paris. Glass was interviewing Sedaris about his upcoming book, “Me Talk Pretty One Day.” Sedaris refused to do anything touristy at all – ever – during his time in Paris (so no visits to the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower, etc.). Instead, he takes Glass to places that he likes to frequent, like the hardware store, and the taxidermy shop. He also speaks to people in very bad French, which is he proud of, claiming it endears him to the Parisians. Clearly, I needed to read this book.
In “Me Talk Pretty One Day” each chapter is about a different time in Sedaris’ life, starting with speech therapy in childhood, to his drug addict days, to living in New York working odd jobs, to his time living in Paris with his partner Hugh. He is snarky and witty and funny and an amazing story teller. It is hard to tell if what he is saying is truly how something happened or hyperbole (could go either way). There are so many great one liners and descriptions of a scene or event that it is hard to choose some. If I had been thinking about it, I would have marked them all and put them in this review. But then, it would spoil the book for you.
I am really looking forward to reading more David Sedaris. Let me know which one I should pick up next.