Book Review: Me Talk Pretty One Day

I’m sure this will be a surprise to all of you, but sometimes I can really channel my inner curmudgeon.  Often, this is manifested to countermand the hype regarding some pop-culture trendsetter.  If “everyone” is enthusing about how great some <insert: book, film, music> is, there is always a counter-current inside me that wants to not care about it —  e.g. I never went to see “Avatar” in the theater.

Anyway, that might help explain why last month I read the book “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris.  I know, this book was all the rage ~10 years ago – “everyone” was telling me how much I’d love it, and how funny it was and that I just HAD to read it…  So, naturally, I said, “Hey zeitgeist – you can’t tell me what I do and don’t like…” and so I never read it.

A few years later, feeling conciliatory and perhaps a little sheepish, I read one of Sedaris’ earlier books: “Naked”.  And you know what?  I didn’t like it all that much.  It wasn’t necessarily insightful or all that funny (and that type of essays collection needs to be one, the other or maybe a little of both…) and so I felt my inner curmudgeon was validated.  See?  David Sedaris isn’t all that…

Me Talk Pretty One Day
David Sedaris

So a while back I was scouting The Beloved’s books looking for something new to read and there was “Me Talk Pretty One Day” – practically taunting me, “Look…I’m already in your house, you might as well give in.”  And so I did.

And you know what?  “Me Talk Pretty One Day” is an excellent book.  It is very funny and I love the way that Sedaris writes.  His writing seems effortless, as if you’re simply sitting and sharing a drink and telling stories.*  The book is divided into two parts: the first covers his youth growing up in North Carolina, figuring out he was gay, and moving to New York.  The second part covers his time living abroad in France.

And so, here I am 10 years late to the game (and feeling sheepish), but just in case you haven’t yet read “Me Talk Pretty One Day” – for whatever valid or imaginary reason, I highly recommend it – and that’s not just the zeitgeist in me talking.

*As someone that tries to write this blog from sort of a “storytelling” perspective, I can say that I’m pretty jealous.  Of course, that’s why he’s a best-selling author and I am not.


12 thoughts on “Book Review: Me Talk Pretty One Day

  1. This is the first time I am reading a book review on your blog (or maybe the second time – I think you wrote about Agassi's 'Open' too). I enjoyed reading it very much. I loved your line 'sometimes I can really channel my inner curmudgeon' :) I also loved the line that the book 'said' at you : “Look…I’m already in your house, you might as well give in.” :) I will add 'Me Talk Pretty One Day' to my 'To be read' list.

  2. Is this the guy that used to write stories for Ira Glass' show? I meant to read some of his books.
    I know what you mean about popular movies, even more so books – sadly, if everyone on the street is talking about a book, I normally assume it must be fluff.

  3. My friend Wendi loves David Sedaris. 2 or 3 years ago she gave me a whole stack of his books (including the two you mention) to read. Some were good, some were not so good. I wouldn't spend my money on him, but if she gives me any more I'll read those, too.

  4. The one thing that really sticks with me from that book is his description of how unbelieving and horrified the French were when they saw a picture of Jodie Foster carrying a little bag of dog poop while walking her dog…. and how that made him proud to be an American. I thought that bit really captured the weirdness of being an American abroad rather well.

  5. Haha, this post made me chuckle, because 1) I totally get that counterculture attitude (it's not even an attitude, it's more like a gut reaction), and 2) I just wrote a post on how I'm like 7 years late to discover Lost.

  6. This is my favorite of the books of his I've read. I really enjoyed the part about buying tomatoes in France. I remember practically crying from laughter on the train on Boston.
    Also, Mr. Zeitgeist, you must read Joshua Ferris. :)

  7. Ha! I am like that sometimes too! I hate just “going along with the crowd” when it comes to books, movies etc.
    Sounds like this is worth the read. Thx for the review!

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