**spoiler alert** I have the 8 disc audio book version, with David Sedaris reading. Ever since I heard him on NPR, I can't imagine 'reading' the book**spoiler alert** I have the 8 disc audio book version, with David Sedaris reading. Ever since I heard him on NPR, I can't imagine 'reading' the book any other way.
I liked this book, but not as much as some in the past. At the start it seemed all over the place in terms of theme; later death became the theme. Death can be funny, the whole black humor field springs to mind, but Sedaris doesn't quite get past pathos.
Others are upset that the stories in the book have been published or read before. The only one I have heard before is the one about the catheter to allow him to pee in public. So I didn't feel ripped off as some do.
It just seemed to me that a lot of his stories are not funny and in some cases even mean. Helen is not interesting or fun, and he goes on and on about her, it starts to feel mean-spirited. What was the point of the Japanese barber with shit on his hand, the punch line makes the whole thing pointless - other than to embarrass the man.
I also am not crazy about all the swearing. Perhaps its the audio book, rather than reading it. It just seems to be a cop out. Instead of humor or thoughtful quirky description, you get one word swears, it just seems lazy.
I am not as enamored of the stories of Sedaris' childhood, and birth family, so I didn't miss them as some did. I prefer the ones with Hugh and in Normandy, and foreign countries. I just wish we could get more detail about Hugh. What does he do ? Why the strange locales of his childhood, yet Sedaris portrays Hugh's mother (family) as hicks from Kentucky ? Why are they living in Paris ?
The Taxi driver story has potential and some humor, but again it seemed to end on a mean-spirited note.
I enjoyed the Japanese sequence but was confused about why he went there. He said it was because he and Hugh had been there before, but the stories seem like they are about the experiences of newbies to the country. finally, is he really that dumb: why does he think Hiroshima doesn't look like other Japanese cities; did he really not know women characters are played by men in traditional theatre ?
I just found myself thrown out of the story he was telling by some of the above mentioned issues. ...more