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Me Talk Pretty One Day
Cover of Me Talk Pretty One Day
Me Talk Pretty One Day
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Anyone that has read NAKED and BARREL FEVER, or heard David Sedaris speaking live or on the radio will tell you that a new collection from him is cause for jubilation. His recent move to Paris from New York inspired these hilarious new pieces, including 'Me Talk Pretty One Day', about his attempts to learn French from a sadistic teacher who declares that 'every day spent with you is like having a caesarean section'. His family is another inspiration. 'You Can't Kill the Rooster' is a portrait of his brother, who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers of food and cashiers with six-inch fingernails
Anyone that has read NAKED and BARREL FEVER, or heard David Sedaris speaking live or on the radio will tell you that a new collection from him is cause for jubilation. His recent move to Paris from New York inspired these hilarious new pieces, including 'Me Talk Pretty One Day', about his attempts to learn French from a sadistic teacher who declares that 'every day spent with you is like having a caesarean section'. His family is another inspiration. 'You Can't Kill the Rooster' is a portrait of his brother, who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers of food and cashiers with six-inch fingernails
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Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 29, 2000
    Sedaris is Garrison Keillor's evil twin: like the Minnesota humorist, Sedaris (Naked) focuses on the icy patches that mar life's sidewalk, though the ice in his work is much more slippery and the falls much more spectacularly funny than in Keillor's. Many of the 27 short essays collected here (which appeared originally in the New Yorker, Esquire and elsewhere) deal with his father, Lou, to whom the book is dedicated. Lou is a micromanager who tries to get his uninterested children to form a jazz combo and, when that fails, insists on boosting David's career as a performance artist by heckling him from the audience. Sedaris suggests that his father's punishment for being overly involved in his kids' artistic lives is David's brother Paul, otherwise known as "The Rooster," a half-literate miscreant whose language is outrageously profane. Sedaris also writes here about the time he spent in France and the difficulty of learning another language. After several extended stays in a little Norman village and in Paris, Sedaris had progressed, he observes, "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." But in English, Sedaris is nothing if not nimble: in one essay he goes from his cat's cremation to his mother's in a way that somehow manages to remain reverent to both of the departed. "Reliable sources" have told Sedaris that he has "tended to exhaust people," and true to form, he will exhaust readers of this new book, tooDwith helpless laughter. 16-city author tour.

  • AudioFile Magazine David Sedaris's deadpan delivery is the perfect foil to the bizarre in his latest collection of essays, and it's hard to imagine another reader recounting these unlikely anecdotes. Most of the readings were recorded in a Paris studio, although some live performances are interspersed, complete with an appreciative live audience. But their easy responses, sometimes as automatic as a television sitcom's laugh track, are often more distracting than encouraging. Listeners accustomed to Sedaris's stories on Public Radio International's "This American Life" will find these readings, about his family, his early adult life, living in France and attempting to learn the language, a little less exuberant, a little more thoughtful, suffering only, perhaps, from the absence of producer Ira Glass's masterful editorial hand. The tone does seem fitting, though, for the essays slide in and out of fleeting sadness, even as they mock and self-deprecate and aim for irony. Sedaris is at his worst when glib, and his least successful essays are those that rant against modern life: New York restaurants, computers. He is at his best when he's describing the absurdity of childhood, moments so unexpectedly strange and yet recognizable, like Sedaris's boyhood dream of performing a one-man show as Billie Holiday singing commercial jingles (and he provides pitch-perfect renditions), that they prompt gleeful, giddy laughter. J.M.D.
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Me Talk Pretty One Day
David Sedaris
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