Jun 26, 2011

[Books] Me Talk Pretty One Day Review

My Kindle has opened up many new doors for me. As much as it's okay to read ebooks on my netbook or potentially on my smartphone, it's nothing like the ease of reading that I experience on my Kindle. And thus I've collected quite a number of titles that I probably wouldn't pick up under normal circumstances. But since the Kindle gives me access to a wider range of books (including some that don't even make it to local bookstores at all), I'm quite the happy bibliophile.

I had heard a lot of good things about David Sedaris from various friends, and I have to admit I've been curious about his works for some time now. And yet when I do bump into hard copies of his books I either have other science fiction titles of greater priority already in hand or I just can't seem to take that next step into the realm of the purchasing decision to actually get them.

Then the Kindle came along and I finally decided to acquire a copies of a few of his books. This is the only one that I've had time to read so far and I think the jury's still out on whether or not I can say that I officially like him as an author. I'm not saying the book is bad - I'm just thinking it's not quite up my alley, for the most part.

Me Talk Pretty One Day is a collection of essays written by American humorist David Sedaris. It was published in 2000 and is typically the Sedaris books my friends have recommended that I start with in trying out this particular author.

The book covers a series of essays about different times in David's life. The first half of the book mostly covers seemingly random points in his life ranging from his childhood in Raleigh, North Carolina to his first attempts to live on his own in New York. The second half covers his life in Normandy, France after he and his partner Hugh opted to live there.

David Sedaris at a talk in Ontario.Image via WikipediaSedaris has a nice, easy-going writing style that is easy to follow. Far too often I've encountered writers who like to impress no one but themselves with their knowledge of vocabulary or they take on a tone that sounds more condescending than inviting. I appreciate that the way Sedaris writes is very casual and conversational - as in I can totally imagine him telling me these stories if we were in some coffee shop or cafe together (as if this were going to happen).

The stories are indeed funny - in the way that real life is always a heck of a lot more amusing than any made-up situation that even the best of writers can come up with. And that's a lot of the poignancy of the collection - the stories feel very real and you can imagine your own family having the same quirks or humorous situations. In that regard I suppose one can safely say that people have the fundamental seeds of being funny, at least when other people hear your stories of your lives.

My main complaint (as it stands) is the fact that the first half feels very disjoint versus the second half of the book. The first story was definitely the best one but beyond that the stories are just good but confusing in their progression. Then again, maybe this is more me wanting some semblance of order connecting the stories together instead of just being able to relax and enjoy thing just as they are. The second half is nicely interconnected since it's mostly about his efforts to learn how to speak French while surviving daily life in Normandy, and so I enjoyed those stories a lot more.

Me Talk Pretty One Day is a night light book to read on a rainy day. It's the kind of slice-of-life writing that that's always fun to follow and it makes the whole collection seem like the blog of a witty LGBT writer. The collection gets 3.5 instances of Sedaris trying to cope with his speech challenges in school out of a possible 5.


  1. That was the first book of Sedaris I read too. Was an inspiration when I was starting my blog, especially on how to craft essays that were insightful and witty. And I agree that he has that certain writing flair, common to some LGBT bloggers. Hmmm... does Sedaris have a blog?

  2. Ang soxal naman, naka-Kindle. Mas maganda ba Kindle kesa iPad? :)

  3. GB:
    I've encountered a number of folks whose blogs try to mirror his style, hehe.

    You can't really compare the two since they have different core functions. If you only want to read books, then a Kindle is definitely better.