Thursday, September 22, 2011

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk - David Sedaris (Audio)

But gracious yes, I do love David Sedaris.  I love him for his dry, self-deprecating wit and whiny voice.  I love him for his honesty and cynicism.  But his latest book, "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk", seemed a tad strange, even for him.  Reviews claimed it was their least favorite.  So it sat on my iPod since late last year, until Melissa at Avid Reader's Musings convinced me early this month that even though it might not be his best, it was still Sedaris and needed to be loved too.  It was when I was wallowing in the darkest aspects of "East of Eden" that I knew it was time.  I mean it is only three discs, so what they hey?

Synopsis:  In this collection of short stories, Sedaris provides a wide array of lessons in morality, all told through anthropomorphic animals that mirror mankind's frailties.  A racist duck, a judgemental adoptive mouse parent, an opportunistic crow, cheating dogs, inter-species dating.  What initially seems very strange quickly turns into an apt examination of (mostly) ugliness that humans are capable of.

My thoughts:  While Sedaris' latest installment of his humor did get more than one chuckle from me, I found it to be much darker than his normal fare.  Most of the stories would make one shake their head wryly, and think that while it is a pretty sad reflection of the things men do, it is also very realistic.  To present it all through animals makes for some very twisted Aesop's fables.

I think I enjoyed the last story the most, however, about a grieving owl who has lost its mate.  To keep its mind off its loss, the owl wanted to better itself, so sometimes it would spare the life of its prey in exchange for some interesting piece of trivia.  In one case, the owl learned about leeches that live in a hippo's butt, hang out there and sing songs.  OK, I know it sounds crazy, but you had to be there.  It was actually the most uplifting story in the book, believe it or not.  It cured me of my "East of Eden Malaise".

A word about the audio production:  What more can I say than to advise you to always listen to Sedaris on audio.  His delivery is perfection.  If I can't have him on audio, I don't want him.

3 out of 5 stars               

19 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I've heard elsewhere this one is dark. But I still haven't listened to ANY of them, so who am I to say? I've got to get listening!

bermudaonion said...

I love Sedaris, but was somewhat disappointed in this collection. It was too dark and out there for me - I think he should stick to his autobiographical essays.

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

Ah! I just this week read him forbthe first time and boy am I glad!

Zibilee said...

You know, I love Sedaris too, and have read just about everything but this one. I am not really scared off by the darkness, so I am not sure why I have let this one linger. I agree that he is best on audio, his voice is perfect for his stories. I have to admit you have me curious about the singing butt leeches too. I will eventually be listening to this one. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Marie said...

this is definitely one for readers with a twisted sense of humor. the audio for this wwas awesome and it's audio-only for me when it comes to sedaris from now on!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

It looks like we had a very similar reaction. I love your description "twisted Aesop's fables." That's exactly it! The stories were so strange, it made me miss his personal stories.

heidenkind said...

I like seeing Sedaris on The Daily Show. Other than that, though, I've never read or listened to any of his books.

Trisha said...

I swear I have this around here somewhere, but danged if I can't find it. I like dark, but I'm not a huge fan of depressing, so I'm not sure how this will work for me.

Jenny said...

I tried a David Sedaris book once and didn't care for it. If I decide to try again I'll probably make sure it's other than this one. That last story sounds so weird!

Alyce said...

In general I don't do humor books, but I do enjoy your reviews of them. :) I'm glad it lifted you out of the Steinbeck low.

farmlanebooks said...

Sedaris is a bit too dry for me and I find myself shaking my head at his normal stories. If you found this one a bit too dark then I can't imagine liking it. I wont be adding this to the TBR. :-)

JoAnn said...

"If I can't have him on audio, I don't want him."
I feel the same way, but think I'll skip this one...

Erin said...

I love Sedaris on audio! I don't think I actually knew what this one was about, but I'm definitely intrigued. Even if it's dark and a bit twisted. It's so short, I'll pick it up next time I need something quick.

Delia (Postcards from Asia) said...

I've tried reading another one of his books, "When You Are Engulfed in Flames", and failed. Halfway through the book I was just skipping ahead to see if there was something more interesting coming up. Not a good sign. :)
It just didn't do anything for me but I have also heard that he is much better on audio. Maybe one day...

Jenners said...

I think I have this coming at one point (the paperback version in October maybe?). I'm very curious about it. It sounds so strange!

John Braine said...

I loved this. Gave it 5 stars. I thought the bear story in particlar was just stunning.

'Too dark' isn't in my vocabulary!

(fwiw: This is one Sedaris that I ended up reading, and didn't get on audio)

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

I've found I just only care about him when he's talking about himself, I basically hate his fiction. There was another collection that included both memoir and fiction and again, the fiction was just bleh for me. I am pretty sure I only listened to half of this one, and probably never even reviewed it.

Kathleen said...

Sadly, I still haven't read or listened to any Sedaris!

Melissa said...

I am not the Sedaris fan you are, but now I know to stay away from this one for sure!