This is another interesting collection of essays and stories by David Sedaris. The man has an eccentric and downright weird sense of humour.
His books are not the kind that will appeal to everyone (reviews on goodreads swing wildly between the one star ‘I can’t believe people read this crap’ to the five star ‘I love this man!”, kind of gushing with very few people coming down in the middle.)
But if you like his books, you will really like them. Sedaris writes about ordinary, everyday things. He seems to be of the opinion that nothing is too small to write about.
Not everyone finds that sort of thing interesting, but if (like me) you do, then he is just the writer for you.
Now about Me Talk Pretty One Day, there is a lot here that I liked and some that I couldn’t bring myself to read all the way through. But on the whole, I enjoyed it.
There are stories here about growing up gay in the 1970’s and trying desperately to fit in, dreaming of being an artist, becoming a drug addict, living in New York, the weirdness of modern, experimental cuisine, living in France and struggling to learn the language and so on.
Some of the stories are warm and engaging, some are funny, some of them made my heart ache…and then there are others that I wish he’d never written. They seemed a bit pointless, to be honest.
But on the whole, I liked it. Here is a sample:
“Every day we’re told that we live in the greatest country on earth. And it’s always stated as an undeniable fact: Leos are born between July 23 and August 22, fitted queen-size sheets measure sixty by eighty inches, and America is the greatest country on earth. Having grown up with this in our ears, it’s startling to realize that other countries have nationalistic slogans of their own, none of which are ‘We’re number two!”
“On my fifth trip to France I limited myself to the words and phrases that people actually use. From the dog owners I learned “Lie down,” “Shut up,” and “Who shit on this carpet?” The couple across the road taught me to ask questions correctly, and the grocer taught me to count. Things began to come together, and I went from speaking like an evil baby to speaking like a hillbilly. “Is thems the thoughts of cows?” I’d ask the butcher, pointing to the calves’ brains displayed in the front window.”
“In order to get the things I want, it helps me to pretend I’m a figure in a daytime drama, a schemer. Soap opera characters make emphatic pronouncements. They ball up their fists and state their goals out loud. ‘I will destroy Buchanan Enterprises,’ they say. ‘Phoebe Wallingford will pay for what she’s done to our family.’ Walking home with the back half of the twelve-foot ladder, I turned to look in the direction of Hugh’s loft. ‘You will be mine,’ I commanded.”