Feb 13, 09
Read in February, 2009
This is the first David Sedaris book that I've read cover to cover. I've read bits and pieces of a few of his books and saw him in Raleigh almost 10 years ago now, and I don't think I've laughed so hard since. And of course, I've heard him on NPR many times. With that background, I was a little disappointed in Naked. The writing was excellent, in my opinion, but the first several essays didn't leave me laughing as much as they left me feeling somewhat uncomfortable. Had they been outright fiction, I might have found them more amusing, but the stories he told about himself and his family just felt too revealing for my comfort. I know that nonfiction is fictionalized to some point, or at least rearranged to place the emphasis where the author wants to place it, so I didn't take it as a factual account in that sense. But just when I was on the verge of feeling amused, I started wondering just how much was "true," and that kind of took the fun out of it for me.
That being said, I thought the last half of the book was really phenomenal. Funny, quirky, and informative (I've never hitchhiked nor have I been to a nudist colony, and I feel like I've learned a lot). "Something for Everyone" left me a little uncomfortable, but it was a discomfort I appreciated because it seemed to be a result of being drawn into the story so well. I spent about an hour feeling like I'd done something wrong that I couldn't explain my way out of. I couldn't figure out what it was I'd done and then I finally realized it wasn't anything I'd done, it was just a residual feeling from the story. I wonder if it's odd that I appreciate that...