I don’t read much nonfiction, but I decided to check out David Sedaris on the advice of a colleage, and I’m really glad I did. I chose Me Talk Pretty One Day because some of the essays focused on language, and frankly, I wondered if there might not be fodder for my classroom. I don’t think I’ll use any of the essays for my students, but I sincerely enjoyed them, nonetheless. In an early essay, Sedaris waxes humorous about childhood speech therapy for a lisp. He went to great lengths to avoid making “s” sounds, including avoiding plurals. Later, as a student of the French language, confused about gendered nouns, he decides that pluralizing everything makes it much easier. I think my favorite essays involved stories about his sister, Amy Sedaris. I have seen Strangers With Candy a few times, but I will admit I’ve never gone out of my way to catch Amy Sedaris on anything. It isn’t that I don’t like her — I was just ambivalent. However, she sounds like a real stitch, as we say in this neck of the woods. I loved David’s description of a joke Amy played on their father involving half a fat suit. She seems like the kind of person who will say or do just about anything if it will get a laugh, and David’s affection for this trait of hers was obvious in his various essays.
Parts of the book were so funny, I found myself laughing out loud, insisting upon reading aloud to my husband. Sedaris is truly funny, and I can’t wait to read more. Meanwhile, here is a clip of Sedaris reading an essay from another of his books on David Letterman’s show: