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.