Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris (audio)


I listened to my first David Sedaris audiobook just a couple of months ago, after hearing much ranting and raving from my blogger friends. That pretty much sealed the deal for me...love at first listen. I then ordered everything my library had of Sedaris on audio (which isn't really much) which brought me to "Me Talk Pretty One Day". I'm probably repeating myself, but nothing I say here will properly capture the genius of his dry humor, and the magic of his whiny, nasal-toned narration. Just trust me that he is a funny, funny man.

I am not easily satisfied with humor either. Comedic books and movies tend to annoy me, because they are usually trying too hard. My entire family could be wetting themselves over some inane film (cough...Nacho Libre...cough) and I just sit there like a stone. Fart humor doesn't cut it. (No pun intended!) Falling down doesn't either. But Sedaris seems to have what I need. He doesn't take himself too seriously, and openly exposes every one of his frailties for all to see, even the more serious ones.

As with the last audio I listened to, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Sedaris covers his childhood, his quirky parents and siblings (including his now-famous sister Amy), his addictions, his time spent living in other countries and the difficulties in trying to speak another language.

I didn't laugh at every single segment. But on the ones where I did laugh, I laughed BIG. I loved his term "tapeworm", which is sort of like "bookworm" but replacing the love of books with the love of audio tapes - something to which I can totally relate! I loved his story of an encounter on a French train with a group of tourists from Houston, and their annoying and loud stereotyping of the French people. I appreciated his honesty about his drug problem and years of shiftlessness.

But I think my favorite part was when he was relaying stories about attempting to speak French. For any of you that have attempted to learn a new language, you will appreciate this. When you know only a finite number of words, you try to communicate by piecing these words together, usually with your conjugation completely hosed up. (And I wonder why every time I open my mouth in Poland, my in-laws laugh!) In his French-speaking class, a cultural melting-pot, some of David's classmates wanted to understand the meaning of Easter. Here is how the conversation went:

The Poles jumped in first. "It is" said one, "a party for the little boy of God who calls his self Jesus and....oh, s***." At a loss for words, her fellow countryman tries to help out.

"He calls his self Jesus and then he die one day on two....morsels....of lumber."

The rest of the class jumped in, offering bits of information that would have given the pope an aneurysm.

"He die one day and then go above my head to live with your father."

"He weared of himself the long hair and after he die, the first day he come back here to say hello to the peoples."

"He nice, the Jesus."

"He make good things, and on the Easter we be sad, because somebody makes him dead today."

They struggled because explaining complex theological concepts was beyond their linguistic ability so they turned to food.

"Easter is a party to eat of the lamb." The Italian nanny explained. "One too many eat of the chocolate."

"And who brings the chocolate?" the teacher asked.

I knew the word, so I raised my hand, saying, "The rabbit of Easter. He bring of the chocolate."

"A rabbit?"....

"Well sure," I said. "He come in the night when one sleep on a bed. With a hand he have a basket and foods.


After listening to this, my husband shouldn't be surprised if I never utter another word in Polish! I'd rather run around playing charades and talking really loud in English!

My next adventure in fun with Sedaris will be "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim", which I will save until I need a break from murders, wars, treachery and physical abuse!

4 out of 5 stars

30 comments:

JoAnn said...

I love, love, love David Sedaris on audio! He's also great if you ever get the opportunity to see him live.

Book Dilettante said...

My son likes Sedaris and he has pretty good taste in books. I should read hime.
Here's my teaser.

Molly said...

I listened to my first Sedaris in December when I chose Holidays on Ice. There were times I was laughing out loud at his humorous retelling of being an elf at Macy's.

I hope to read some Sedaris this summer. You are right, a good dash of humor amid the thrillers and classics helps to balance out the mix.

Jackie (Farm Lane Books) said...

I've almost finished the audio of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and am finding it very mixed. I was almost bored by the first 3 discs, but LOVED the fourth. I will be interested to see how you think it compares to his other books, as I'm not convinced by my first.

bermudaonion said...

I LOVE David Sedaris on audio!!! I have this book in print and I hope it's as funny that way.

April (BooksandWine) said...

I've never listened to Sedaris on audio, but I've read almost all of his books, except Barrel Fever.

Me Talk Pretty One Day is definitely my favorite. SO SO SO hilarious, I was like crying with laughter when I read it.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I have really got to get this in audio. I love things that make me laugh out loud while all alone in the car!

caite said...

I have only listened to one of his books on audio...Holidays on Ice...and I agree that his voice reading it makes a huge difference.
Darn, if only I like audiobooks! What can I do!

Jeane said...

That segment you shared of the patched-together-words describing easter? made me laugh so hard! I've never read Sedaris but you've made me want to.

Zibilee said...

This is definitely my favorite Sedaris book, though all of them are wonderful. If you ever have the chance to see him speak in person don't miss it! I love him and think that he is probably one of the funniest authors and speakers out there. Great review, Sandy, and thanks for quoting one of my favorite parts of this book!

Trisha said...

I have to read more Sedaris. I adored Naked, but just sort of stopped there....I'm so bad about sticking to an author.

Julie P. said...

Sounds like this would be a great book to start on for an audio. Great and fun review.

Avid Reader said...

Oh how I love Sedaris, especially in audio. And I agree with Zibilee, see him live if you can! I have rationed his books so I only read about 1 a year, but now all I have left is Naked.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

I have a couple Sedaris books hanging around here somewhere....can you believe that I've never read one yet? (Actually, I'm sure you can believe that, lol).

Lauren said...

I've read all of his books, and I'm pretty sure this one is my favorite. I ADORE the essay of him and his boyfriend sitting in a cafe after watching the depressing movie. I think it perfectly says what love is, in very little words.

Nymeth said...

I need to read more Sedaris! Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is actually the only one I've read to date - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Iliana said...

I love his writing! He is just so funny. I bet the audio is great and if you ever get the chance to see him in person you must! I got my book Naked autographed by him. It's one of my bookish treasures :)

Jenners said...

I love love Sedaris ... but I've never listened to him on audio. Sounds like I should! And the section you excerpted was my all-time favorite Sedaris story ... I was laughing so hard I was crying when I read that. Just reading your excerpt brings it all back ... I need to read that again .. or listen again!

Kathleen said...

I think this is definitely one to listen to vs. read. Hearing him talk is part of the appeal I think.

Chelle said...

I keep seeing this book go around. Having never read it or any Sedaris I think I'd better jump in! Thanks for the review

ds said...

I read this one, and howled. Sedaris is such a funny guy. I think I'll try him next on audio, per your recommendation. Perfect for the next road trip. Thanks!

Mystica said...

I have read Sedaris but you make him come alive!

Andreea said...

Sounds like a great read. I am glad that you enjoyed it so much!

trish said...

Yes! I am a big Sedaris fan too. I have to be careful not to read him in public for fear of snorting out loud. He is very funny.

The Bumbles said...

Ah - is that where the book title comes from? Lost in translation?

And I agree - you are a total Tapeworm ;0)

Alyce said...

I don't know how much I'd be into his humor, but I loved the section you quoted. But then I love anything to with languages.

Alice Teh said...

TAPEWORM?! Now that's something new (and definitely hilarious) for me. I need to read Sedaris soon. You convinced me.

Anna said...

I still haven't read or listened to one of his books. I really must change that at some point.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

C.B. James said...

My husband and I listened to all of them up to Dress Your Family... which we only got halfway through. This one is probably the one with the most laughs, but Holidays on Ice is still the best. You don't have to wait for Christmas to "read" it either. It's not really a Christmassy book, more of an anti-Christmassy book.

And Mr. Sedaris sings Away in a Manger in the style of Billie Holiday on it. Few things in life are funnier than that.

Literary Feline said...

"I am not easily satisfied with humor either" is a statement I can really relate to when it comes to movies and books. So, if you find Sedaris' funny, I just might too. I really should give something of his a try.