David Sedaris returns with his second collection of diary entries. A Carnival of Snackery spans from 2003 all the way up to 2020.
This is a hard one to review and it will entirely depend on if you’re already a big fan of David’s work. By no means should anyone begin their Sedaris journey with either collection of diary entries as both are more of an unfiltered look at the inner workings of David’s mind rather than the polished essays he’s most known for. It’s like watching the special features on a DVD without watching the movie.
A lot has happened both in David’s life and the world in the seventeen years that make up this collection. Big cultural moments like the beginning of the war in Iraq, the 2005 terrorist attacks in London (while David was a resident there), the political rise of the far right and the election of Donald Trump and the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic all make appearances. We also unfortunately encounter the loss of David’s sister Tiffany to suicide, David’s fractured relationship with his father and many a health scare.
It’s obviously not all gloom and doom, however. David is first and foremost a humorist, so the book has more than its fair share of laugh out loud moments; the best being jokes and insults he’s told at book signings.
“You’re so lazy, you would shit the bed and push it out with your foot.”
“The lowest of the low. You’re so low you could get under the belly of a snake wearing a top hat.”
There are definitely other highlights here like David’s unusual relationship with a fox who had visited his home every day looking for scraps, much to the chagrin of his partner Hugh. His interactions with readers at book signings often keep the events going long – sometimes over 5 hours – one highlight being how soon women remove their bras following their work day.
Like THEFT BY FINDING, I can’t see me recommending this to someone who hasn’t already read a good chunk of David’s work, but I did have an enjoyable time seeing these snapshots of David’s day-to-day life.