March 30, 2010

REVIEW: Me Talk Pretty One Day

Arguably the most famous work in the canon of David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day has the kind of stories Sedaris fans will love, and Sedaris-virgins will love to discover. Since reading Naked and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, I've been amazed by Sedaris's talent for turning mundane life into fascinating explorations of the human experience, and have made it a passive goal of mine to read all his six books. With stories centering around family members or childhood figures (each with the kind of clear, constant voice you can effortlessly hear inside your head as you read), Sedaris must have an incredible memory, detailed diary, or convincing imagination. While those expecting to hear heartthrob stories of excitement and adventure will be disappointed by the National Public Radio-ready prose of Sedaris's books, everyone will be able to appreciate the mastery of his writing and brevity.

Some of the stories contained in Me Talk Pretty will be familiar to listeners of NPR's This American Life, which I believe speaks more to their strength than their redundancy. The book contains quite a bit on his experiences in France (touched upon in other works), and has a bit too much Andy Rooney-esque nostalgia at times, but Me Talk Pretty is Sedaris at his best.

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