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I started this a few days ago and am almost a third of the way through.  So far I have to say it's been quite a disappointment.  It is amusing in a controlled kind of way.  There are some very readable passages about incidents in the author's childhood and young life (so far as if have read). But for me this is not what I would call  a laugh-out-loud funny book. 

 

Am I missing something here?  Did I expect too much?  I do hope other s are reading it and will comment in due course.

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A bit like some rock bands, but very unusually for an author, Sedaris is better live than on the page. I've been to a couple of recordings of his Meet David Sedaris programmes for BBC Radio and laughed heartily, whereas, with the notable exception of the Santaland Diaries his written work rarely raises more than a wry smile for me unlike, say, Bill Bryson. Perhaps he's best experienced in a group.  

 

In addition, I usually buy his books through Audible with Sedaris narrating rather than to read, partially for this reason.

 

I also think he's getting funnier, and Me Talk Pretty One Day is one of his earlier books. Having said that, I haven't yet listened to his last couple of books. Perhaps I see his work like this because he has been living in the UK for the last few years and therefore commenting on the country where I live with an outsider's eye.

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I'm absolutely with Grammath on this one, I find reading David Sedaris OK and will happily dip into one of his books if it's to hand but I wouldn't bother to search one out; however I chanced on one of his broadcasts on radio 4 and it was priceless. I wouldn't risk listening to him while driving, too much risk of crashing the car while in the middle of a fit of laughter.

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I am so surprised by these reactions!  This is by far my favorite Sedaris--I find that the "wry smile" is how I've reacted to all of his other books, but not this one.  Especially the part about his efforts to learn French, which had me laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. Most people I've recommended the book to have reacted the same way (and one of them even kept the book because it's no longer in my library).  

 

That being said, it was even funnier when I listened to it on audiotape because then I got to hear, rather than imagine, him doing commercial jingles in the style of Billie Holiday.  I was driving and almost had to pull off to the side of the road.  And I have seen him several times in person and am going again next month and he's always funny.  But I found this book to be the side-splitter.

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Binker, have you heard him reading out loud about trying to learn French?  And the way he gets around having to use genders when buying things in the market (the answer is to get at least two of everything because plurals are unisex)?  Or the Dutch tourist who had lost his way and needed directions to his "willage"...?  Pure gold.

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I think the part about trying to learn French is the funniest part of this book.  I haven't heard anything else on it, but "is them the thoughts of cows" and "morsels of lumber" are my favorite bits from the book.  So any extensions about plurals getting rid of the gender problem and "willage" would crack me up, too.

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Okay, so it is funny in parts but it's better to hear him reading it.  I don't think I'm going to get the spoken word cd, but I will read on. Thanks for all the comments.

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Got it!  Well, I have started to see a little more humour in Sedaris' writing.  Last night I read, amongst others, the chapter, Today's Special, when he goes to a posh restaurant for Hugh's birthday meal, and have to admit by the time I got to the end of the chapter I was actually chuckling out loud.  And the chapter Me Talk Pretty One Day about him learning French is very well written and funny. 

 

I think this book is really made up of short anecdotes from the author's life rather than a lineal tale.  It's probably how he would deliver his humour on stage - not quite one-liners, but almost.  At least there is no time to get bored with any one subject.

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Have to admit, in the end, I did enjoy the read.  I think I really warmed to the writer and his amusing way of looking at things.  Have to admit not all of it was really funny for me, but it was amusing all the way through.  In fact I am inclined to find another of his books to read, but I would actually love to hear him speak to get his 'voice'.

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My husband and I went with friends to hear David Sedaris in person last night.  He usually reads from something that he's working on for publication and says he continues to modify his stories based on audience reaction.  He was, once again, very funny.

 

He always recommends a book, too.  He usually reads from the book, but this time the author was with him and read from it himself. The book is Family Life by Akhil Sharma and it sounds very good.  David raved about it.  Mohsin Hamid says, "t is amazing that a book which contains so much heartbreak can be this funny."   I see that brightphoebus has read it and gave it a good review, so I plan to read it soon.  

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I had resisted the audible version of this because it is abridged, but after all this infectious hilarity on BGO I can no longer hold out, even if I don't get quite as much as the rest of you. Certainly enjoyed the sample of him reading it you can listen to before you decide.  Look forward to joining in.

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Accidentally started listening a few chapters in and it was entitled "The Learning Curve". Chuckled often and laughed out loud at one point. I am hoping to use 'whateverishly' at every available opportunity. The whole time I had our MM in the back of my mind and think this would surely appeal to her imagination.

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