It’s always a treat when I get to sit down with a new David Sedaris book – well, one that is new to me anyway. While I much prefer to listen to a Sedaris audiobook than read one, it’s gotten to the point now where I can hear David’s voice in my head while reading. So, I guess it’s the best of both worlds?
Released in 2000, Me Talk Pretty One Day is David’s fourth book. This time, the essays mainly deal with his move to Paris and his struggle to learn a second language. There are some great moments here where he translates his broken French into English, which is where the book’s title comes from, as well as his contentious relationship with the class’ teacher. There are also some hilarious stories about his father and his attempt to create this family band with the Sedaris clan had me laughing out loud when he had David attend his first guitar lesson.
It’s not all about his family and his move to Paris, though. David writes about his early years in New York when he took a job with a moving company under a boss he suspected was a communist. He also tells of a friend who would visit him regularly in New York and the one time she brought along her own friend who had not ventured out of her small town in the South. David’s reaction to her belief that everyone was out to scam her had me laughing out loud (I tried quoting it in this review out of context and it just wasn’t working – trust me). My favorite story comes early in the book, however, when he tells of having to work with a speech therapist to correct his lisp as a child. His ultimate plan? Just avoid words with “s”. This leads to a funny exchange when asked of his plans for the Christmas break.
David Sedaris is one of those writers who can take even the most mundane subject and make it hilarious. If you’ve never read his work, I suggest starting with an audio version and I doubt you could go wrong with Me Talk Pretty One Day.