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Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
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Me Talk Pretty One Day (original 2000; edition 2001)

by David Sedaris

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17,328296100 (4.06)384
Member:BethArcher
Title:Me Talk Pretty One Day
Authors:David Sedaris
Info:Back Bay Books (2001), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Humor, Essays

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Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (2000)

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» See also 384 mentions

English (293)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All (295)
Showing 1-5 of 293 (next | show all)
I couldn't get through this book. I read the first essay and when I heard the idea that speech therapy was mainly for homosexuals to sound less effeminate, my defenses went up like crazy. I just couldn't go on. Maybe the rest of the essays were better, but that one just rubbed me the wrong way. ( )
  KamGeb | Jun 15, 2017 |
If you have ever heard David Sedaris read his own work – on the BBC in Britain, NPR in the States or via an audiobook – then reading one of his books is an almost identical experience. His authorial voice is so strong and so uniquely his own that you can hear his laconic, mid-West, slightly nasal, high pitched tones clearly as you read the words, right down to the perfectly timed pauses for effect and sudden excitably camp intonation he'll sometimes adopt.

Each of his short, humourous pieces is a perfectly crafted gem. And they really are funny! He manages to paint vivid, personal pictures of his experiences to which the reader can relate, usually with just a twist of absurdity enough to make the images striking while we nod in familiarity at our own similar quirks and foibles, and those of our family and friends. That life is absurd is, after all, the basis for all comedy. Sedaris will also throw in pearls that are hilarious partly due to their shock value; sometimes the kind of things we all think but would never say, occasionally truly outrageous statements most people would never admit ownership of to a close friend, never mind in print or on stage in such blasé tones. But as Sedaris himself is so often the target of his own barbs comments that might otherwise be truly nasty are rendered charming and funny. Nor does he descend into the persona of the overly camp gay man, unless relating some example of amusing behaviour.

His sexuality is talked of in an open, matter of fact way that is still rare enough to be refreshing. He is not some gay caricature flapping his hands at a straight friend's lack of dress sense, nor is he coming out to the reader as a form of declarative therapy. He may mention a boyfriend as part of a story, in the same way he mention his father or siblings, but it is the fact that the straightforwardness of this is still at all noteworthy to the audience. When he writes in Go, Carolina, the first piece in the collection, about having been the sort of boy more interested in movie star scrapbooks and baking than in sports it is a signifier of being different, being an outsider, to which it is so easy to relate.

Often he does impart past misdemeanors as confidences, whether it is his drug use or dabbling in conceptual art (“Either [crystal meth or conceptual art] is dangerous, but in combination they have the potential to destroy entire civilisations”) or his fear that he can't look away from a woman trapped fifty feet up in a stalled fairground ride because some part of him wants to see her fall. It is his sharing of these self doubts and weaknesses that makes the stories so real and charming.

I found myself sometimes wondering, despite his use of the real names of family and friends in his reminiscences, whether the stories are as truly autobiographical as they seem or if like the work of a great songwriter they simply ring true because of the way the connect with and illuminate our own experiences. ( )
  Pezski | Jun 8, 2017 |
Somewhat entertaining. Pretty funny at times. Not terrible. Not great. ( )
  JEPartrick | May 2, 2017 |
I know everyone else must have read it years ago, but I had no idea it was about an American struggling to learn French while living in France. Reading in bed I let out a whoop and startled my husband; the other night I laughed so hard I almost cried.
Meaning to say “Do you understand me?” instead Sedaris says:
“You will understand me” (and) the citizens of France responded with blank stares. I picked up a few new words, but overall the situation seemed hopeless. Neighbors would drop by and I’d struggle to entertain then with a pathetic series of simple nouns.
“Food, ashtray, drink?”
“Yes,” they’d agree. “That is an ashtray all right.”

.....I returned to Normandy the following summer and resumed my identity as the village idiot. “See you again yesterday!” I said to butcher. « Ashtray, food ! »

If you want to rad more, I wrote a review for my blog replete with pictures: http://cindamackinnon.wordpress.com/blog/ ( )
  CindaMac | Mar 26, 2017 |
This isn't something I would normally have read, but I ended up with a copy of it. It is definitely not my favorite book. Still, it is nice to branch out sometime. The essays are interesting, sometimes amusing, and they give you a look into the life of the author.
  GretchenLynn | Mar 10, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 293 (next | show all)
Whereas ''Naked'' reads like a series of overlapping autobiographical essays, this volume feels more like a collection of magazine pieces or columns on pressing matters like the care and feeding of family pets and the travails of dining in Manhattan. But if Mr. Sedaris sometimes sounds as though he were making do with leftover material, ''Talk Pretty'' still makes for diverting reading.
 
The gifted Sedaris has not been hard enough on himself. At the risk of sounding patronizing, I suspect there is a better writer in there than he is as yet willing to let out.
 
This collection is, in its way, damned by its own ambitious embrace of variety; with so many pieces assembled, the stronger ones always punish the weaker... But reading or listening to David Sedaris is well worth the lulls for the thrills.
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Sedarisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Aison, Cathryn S.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colombo, MatteoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hayden, MelissaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaye, Michael IanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pardoen, IrvingTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316776963, Paperback)

"It's a pretty grim world when I can't even feel superior to a toddler." Welcome to the curious mind of David Sedaris, where dogs outrank children, guitars have breasts, and French toddlers unmask the inadequacies of the American male. Sedaris inhabits this world as a misanthrope chronicling all things petty and small. In Me Talk Pretty One Day Sedaris is as determined as ever to be nobody's hero--he never triumphs, he never conquers--and somehow, with each failure, he inadvertently becomes everybody's favorite underdog. The world's most eloquent malcontent, Sedaris has turned self-deprecation into a celebrated art form--one that is perhaps best experienced in audio. "Go Carolina," his account of "the first battle of my war against the letter s" is particularly poignant. Unable to disguise the lisp that has become his trademark, Sedaris highlights (to hilarious extent) the frustration of reading "childish s-laden texts recounting the adventures of seals or settlers named Sassy or Samuel." Including 23 of the book version's 28 stories, two live performances complete with involuntary laughter, and an uncannily accurate Billie Holiday impersonation, the audio is more than a companion to the text; it stands alone as a performance piece--only without the sock monkeys. (Running time: 5 hours, 4 cassettes) --Daphne Durham

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:13 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

David Sedaris moved from New York to Paris where he attempted to learn French. His teacher, a sadist, declared that every day spent with him was like giving birth the Caesarean way! These hilarious essays were inspired by that move.

(summary from another edition)

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