Monday, November 2, 2009

Cannonball Read Book #1: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

When I was younger, probably about seven or eight years old, my cousins and I would climb trees in our grandparents’ yard. One particular tree had enough large, sturdy branches that we could all fit in it at once, making it perfect for playing Monchichis. One afternoon, we had finished playing Monchichis and we were all climbing out of the tree. I decided it would be an excellent idea to jump out of the tree, which is something I’d done many times before. This time, I jumped from the tree and stopped halfway to the ground. My jacket hood had been hooked on a short branch and I was stuck. My cousins ran into the house to get the adults because this was the 80s and parents actually let their children have fun without watching them every second of the day. The adults all ran outside to see me hanging from the tree by my jacket. There was much laughing and taking of pictures before anyone attempted to help me out of the tree. I can relate to David Sedaris’ writing.

Me Talk Pretty One Day was published in 2000 and contains essays dealing with everything from Sedaris learning French, his siblings and their quirks, to my favorite essay in the book: “Big Boy”. “Big Boy” is an essay about finding a giant turd, sans toilet paper accompaniment, in the toilet while attempting to use the bathroom at an Easter gathering. The panic that overcomes Sedaris and the different directions of his mind in this situation had me wincing in recognition and laughing at the story at the same time.

Sedaris has a way of writing his experiences so that they seem universal when I’ve never actually snorted meth amphetamines or been a gay man. The way that he chooses his pacing, his words, and overall tones in his essays speaks volumes about the talent and genius of the man. Another favorite essay is "The Youth in Asia". It starts as a remembrance of past pets in the Sedaris family and the strange attachments formed between animal and human. Then it ends on a decidedly down and somber note, in a turn that, while not especially out of nowhere, still takes you by surprise.

I will be reading at least one more Sedaris book during this Cannonball Read and have read two of his books previously. I look forward to seeing more experiences through the eyes of Sedaris.


  1. Monchichi mean happiness!

    also, i plan on reading "wigfield" by amy sedaris/s. colbert/paul dinello

    you make me so swoony!

  2. I haven't read any of his stuff, and now I want to. Thanks Pinky!

    (You make me swoony too.)

  3. Lovely review. I love Amy but have yet to read David's books. Now, I will!

  4. How I love David Sedaris. If you're not familiar with "6-8 Black Men" listen to it. It's my favorite Christmas related story and I still laugh until I cry every time I hear it.

  5. Thanks, kids! I was very nervous about this first review.
    I avoided Sedaris until about a month ago. When someone comes highly recommended, I am usually suspicious. I started with "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" and then read "Holidays On Ice". Now I'm addicted!

  6. I'm a fan of Sedaris, and I suggest "Naked" and "When You Are Engulfed in Flames."
    Naked was the first one I read, actually, and I was hooked from jump. I so rarely laugh at loud at a book, and even when I was alone I got that face. You know, when you laugh, but feel bad about laughing at something like that, so you look around kind of guiltily? Like that.

    Great review! And your story at the beginning was perfect.

  7. I have "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" sitting in my library bag. I plan to read it after my third book.
    Sharona, I laughed so hard at the poo essay that I was wheezing! The husband thought it was funny (I read it to him aloud), but not as funny as I did.