Friday Favorites: Me Talk Pretty One Day

Friday, September 17, 2010


My first introduction to David Sedaris was an essay in The New Yorker chronicling his trip to Amsterdam while in the midst of house hunting in Paris. He saw Anne Frank's house and all he could think was that if it wasn't a historical home it would be the perfect flat!

Sedaris' irreverence and dry humor sucked me in so completely. Nothing is sacred.

Me Talk Pretty One Day was the first of his books I read and after that I knew I was hooked. It remains my favorite of his, though that might be because it was my first. It's a collection of 26 essays, mainly dealing with Sedaris' personal life and experiences.

Whether he telling stories about his unconventional family, dealing with a lisp or trying to learn how to speak French, he brings an absurdity to the most banal situations.

"You Can't Kill the Rooster" is Sedaris' story about his hillbilly brother... who refers to himself as "the rooster." It's one of my favorites in the bunch. I first read it, then later listened to Sedaris read it and it literally made me laugh so hard I was crying. He does a squealing, high-pitched imitation of his brother's voice, which is too ridiculous to be far from the truth.

Yes Sedaris can be crude and occasionally the situations he finds himself in are a bit disturbing, but he tells the stories in a way that's irresistible. I once attended a reading he gave and was thrilled to discover he was even funnier in person. If you've never read anything of his I would highly recommend starting with this book and get the audio version if you can!

"I noticed an uncommon expression on Alisha's face. It was the look of someone who's discovered too late that she's either set her house on fire or committed herself to traveling with the wrong person."

9 comments:

Brenna said...

I need to read this! Thanks!

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Why, why, WHY haven't I read this yet?! I read a small holiday book he put out a few years ago, and my stomach hurt from laughing so hard!

Charley said...

This was my first Sedaris book as well. He never fails to put me in a great mood.

Avid Reader said...

Coffee - Holidays on Ice is hilarious! It's the perfect December escape when family/present buying is stressing you out.

Charley - I love that you can just read one essay and then put the book down for a week if you need to. Great for a pick-me-up.

Cara Boyer said...

I read, "Naked" a couple of years ago and liked it at times and not so much during others... I think I'll give this one a shot too.

Jeanne said...

I would love to see him in person one day. He came to the city an hour away last year, but the date conflicted with something else and the price was kind of ridiculous.

Avid Reader said...

Jeanne - If you ever get the chance you should go. He's just a wisp of a man, very soft-spoken, but so clever and funny.

Jenners said...

I'm a big Sedaris fan too ... and this was one of my favorites. I love the whole French class essay the best. I remember laughing until I was crying when I first read it.

And everyone says you have to hear him read his own stories so I'm trying to track down an audio book version to try out.

Avid Reader said...

Jenners - You absolutely have to hear his audiobooks. He makes it even funnier when he reads it.