Sunday, December 18, 2011

Me Talk Pretty One Day

Sometime between attempting to capture a pigeon for the $750 reward and Ira Glass waving a magic, fame-inducing public radio microphone under David Sedaris' chin, the brother of the equally famous Amy Sedaris - more about her here, interviewed on the Sound of Young America - wrote a little collection of essays called Me Talk Pretty One Day. 

Recalling with a dry wit the funniest moments of his youth in North Carolina, multiple "art school" phases, and life on the French countryside, Sedaris' could have been trained in an Ivy League MFA if not for his constant usage of "Xerox" in place of "copy." Well that, and then also, there was The One About the Turd.

I don't think you'll find such an ill-fitting essay in any of Sedaris' more recent books.

Instead, his incredible way with words mostly sounds like this little gem on page 194: "We had a collie and an house cat. They had a monkey and two horses named Charlie Brown and Satan. I threw stones at stop signs. Hugh threw stones at crocodiles. The verbs are the same, but he definitely wins the prize when it comes to nouns and objects."

Sedaris builds stories like the best architects build buildings - one brick at a time, but with surprising elements placed at just the right angle. Here on page 80: "A week after putting her [Neil the Cat] to sleep, I received Neil's ashes in a forest green can. She'd never expressed any great interest in the outdoors, so I scattered her remains on the carpet and then vacuumed her back up."

TELL ME you didn't just laugh out loud at that - 

Four out of Five Stars - read it over Christmas vacation and two things will happen: 1) You'll finish it quickly, which provides a sense of accomplishment and 2)  you'll feel better about your own family.

Merry Christmas.

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