Book Reviews: Naked

Thursday, November 11, 2010

by David Sedaris

Sedaris is always funny, but this isn't one of my favorites of his. The stories are a bit more tragic than humorous and tend to highlight his family's dysfunction, but not in a good way. He’s poking fun at his life, but most of the things he discusses just aren’t funny, not even in his hands. He writes about hitchhiking with a handicapped girl, his alcoholic mother making fun of him with his teachers, his fear of people discovering he’s gay; all of which left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

I’ve been unable to stop laugh while reading some of his books, but this one barely gave me a few chuckles. Maybe the pain he felt was a bit too fresh when he wrote them, but they came across lacking in his usual cheeky sarcasm. I’d recommend his book Me Talk Pretty One Day, over this one.


Kathy said...

Ah, see, this is the only Sedaris book I've read, and I wasn't especially interested in reading anything else of his afterwards. Even though everyone and their dog raved about him. But I must have chosen the wrong one to start with! Maybe I'll have to give him another chance.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Kathy - Definitely try another, Me Talk Pretty One Day is particularly good. He's not for everyone, but I think Naked is not a good representation of his best work.

Carl V. Anderson said...

The first book of his I read was Holidays on Ice, which was hysterical. I haven't 'read' any of the others but listened to the audio of this one and Me Talk Pretty One Day. I actually liked this one better than you but I think that was in large part because I was listening to him tell the stories. It put a whole lot more humanity into what are, as you point out, sad stories. To Kathy I would definitely recommend Holidays on Ice and I HIGHLY recommend it and his other books on audio (I checked them out from the library). He is a great storyteller.

Jeanne said...

Carl is so right about how hearing him read his own stuff really adds another dimension. And you are so right about this not being his best. I like Me Talk Pretty One Day all right, but I love Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim the most. His newer stuff tends to be better, if you ask me.

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Holidays on Ice was absolutely hysterical! I need to re-read that one!

I've heard mixed reviews on this one -- will pick up Me Talk Pretty One Day instead, thanks!

Vaishnavi said...

I have not read Sedaris although I have good things about his Me Talk Pretty One Day. I am sorry you did not enjoy this book much thoug!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Carl and Jeanne - So right! There is no better way to read Sedaris than through audio... unless you can see him live. Then it's even better.

Coffee and Jeanne - I really liked Dress Your Family and Holidays on Ice too. Those were some of the earliest I read of his. There's a lot of great stuff to choose from.