Me Talk Pretty One Day


Author: David Sedaris

Title: Me Talk Pretty One Day

Genre: Nonfiction, GLBTQ Humor, Audio Book

Publication Date: 2001

Number of Pages: 5 CDs, 6 hrs.

Geographical Setting: North Carolina, Chicago, New York, France

Time Period: Present day/author’s childhood

Series (If applicable):  N/A

Plot Summary: David Sedaris returns in his fourth book with more sharp, witty stories mined from his childhood, career and relationships. Even as Sedaris articulately paints a picture of himself as the perennial put-upon loser, his charming near-misanthropy, cheerful self-deprecation and skewed perspective on life nevertheless soon have readers rooting for him. Anecdotes range from childhood speech therapy and failed attempts at teaching to his meeting and moving to France with boyfriend Hugh and struggles to learn the language. This is funny, funny stuff. And—perhaps unsurprisingly to those already familiar with Sedaris’ uniquely engaging style—the material is served even better in this audio CD edition, read by the author himself. Sedaris’ reedy, nasal voice, with its slight lisp and just a hint of his North Carolina upbringing, is naturally perfect in delivering the nuances and timing needed for a listening experience more akin to performance art than many audio books ’perfunctory readings. His familiarity with the material gives the collection an appealing storytelling quality, and in fact some of the stories appeared on NPR’s This American Life before the book was published. Some are accompanied by small musical highlights, while others were recorded live, reinforcing the storytelling/performance art feeling. Sedaris writes clever, intelligent and hilarious stories, drawing on a tradition going back to Mark Twain. Readers should note that Sedaris doesn’t shy away from some mature language or subjects. A great choice when looking for something funny, nonfiction or that works particularly well in audio format.

Subject Headings: Humorous nonfiction; GLBTQ humor; American humor; Paris (France); Anecdotes—Humorous

Appeal: Humorous, witty, charming, entertaining, self-deprecating, curmudgeonly, nostalgic, sardonic, ironic, leisurely-paced, clever, conversational, storytelling, cultural commentary, wry observations, read by author, empathetic characters, underdog themes

3 terms that best describe this book: Sharp, witty, conversational

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, by David Foster Wallace (A collection of wryly humorous essays on childhood, vacationing and other cultural observations)

The Partly Cloudy Patriot (Audio CD), by Sarah Vowell (Witty, quirky essays with a keen eye for observation and history, the audio edition features a cast of noted readers like Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Michael Chabon and the author herself, with music from quirky popsters They Might Be Giants)

A Woman Trapped in a Woman’s Body: (Tales from a Life of Cringe), by Lauren Weedman (Humorous, self-deprecating, confessional memoir from a former Daily Show correspondent)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

After the Plague: Stories, by T. Coraghessan Boyle (Series of ironic and darkly humorous tales of contemporary life)

The Adrian Mole Diaries, by Sue Townsend (Humorous, touching diary of a 13-year-old boy who writes down his daily experiences and observations)

A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby (A dark comedy, themes of suicide, angst, depression and promiscuity, sharp wit)


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