Monique's Reviews > Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris
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's review
Jul 31, 12

really liked it

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris defies categorization. On one hand, the book of stories, subtitled "A Modest Bestiary," is about the everyday problems of an anthropomorphized group of animals. On the other hand, it's a deeply cynical, ironic, yet poignant look at the occasional stupidity of modern humans (actually, Americans). The book makes fun of everything, from adultery to parasites, journalists to weight problems to AA, Secret Santa consumerism to in-your-face-natural-birthers.

At the same time the book is making fun, it also seems to be teaching a lesson. We've come to expect a moral at the end of a tale with animals for characters, and this book is no exception. At times a story would end and I knew what I was meant to take away from it; other times the ending left me scratching my head, wondering if the deeper meaning was either A., too deep for me, or B., nonexistent and I was silly for attempting to even look for deeper meaning in the first place. The book isn't didactic. It's not whacking you over the head with the lessons, in other words. Which is how I like lessons to be.

To be sure, this is a dark book. Sad fates meet many of the characters (even the likable ones, even the small and cute ones) and more than one character gets his eyes pecked out. A cow purposefully chooses a turkey for her Secret Santa person because she knows the turkey will be served up piping hot with a side of rich gravy on Christmas Eve, letting the cow off the hook to forage up a present. A well-bred spaniel and his not-so-purebred-wife struggle in the aftermath of her adultery with the violent English bull terrier next door. Storks struggle with how to tell their children where babies come from, so they lie. Badly. GIven all the above scenarios you're never sure whether to laugh, cringe, or so both simultaneously, but you'll have a great time grappling.
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