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Me Talk Pretty One Day

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Anyone that has read NAKED and BARREL FEVER, or heard David Sedaris speaking live or on the radio will tell you that a new collection from him is cause for jubilation. His recent move to Paris from New York inspired these hilarious new pieces, including 'Me Talk Pretty One Day', about his attempts to learn French from a sadistic teacher who declares that 'every day spent with you is like having a caesarean section'. His family is another inspiration. 'You Can't Kill the Rooster' is a portrait of his brother, who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers of food and cashiers with six-inch fingernails.

272 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2000

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About the author

David Sedaris

123 books24.5k followers
David Sedaris is a Grammy Award-nominated American humorist and radio contributor.

Sedaris came to prominence in 1992 when National Public Radio broadcast his essay "SantaLand Diaries." He published his first collection of essays and short stories, Barrel Fever, in 1994. Each of his four subsequent essay collections, Naked (1997), Holidays on Ice (1997), Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000), Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (2004), and When You Are Engulfed in Flames (2008) have become New York Times Best Sellers.

As of 2008, his books have collectively sold seven million copies. Much of Sedaris' humor is autobiographical and self-deprecating, and it often concerns his family life, his middle class upbringing in the suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina, Greek heritage, various jobs, education, drug use, homosexuality, and his life in France with his partner, Hugh Hamrick.

Excerpted from Wikipedia.

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5 stars
270,617 (39%)
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119,749 (17%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 19,331 reviews
Profile Image for Brian.
17 reviews92 followers
December 4, 2013
I just don't care for David Sedaris.

There, I've said it. I've made peace with the fact. I have stared deep into the cockles of my heart, and forced myself to come to the only obvious-but-unpopular conclusion.

I just don't care for David Sedaris.

It was somewhat of an existential struggle for me to reach this conclusion because I'm exactly the kind of person who should like David Sedaris.

I am a sarcastic Generation Xer with an overdeveloped sense of irony. I enjoy reading personal essays about poignant and humiliating events in people's personal lives. Understated comedy is favorite genre. I look at myself in the mirror and practice being droll. Hell, I even like listening to This American Life on NPR. I am exactly the target demographic for the witty, petty misanthropy with which Mr. Sedaris plies his trade.

But, I just don't care for David Sedaris.

I find him to be thoroughly unlikable. He comes across as the type of person who might be fun to have a beer with, but, afterwards, he'd probably make fun of you behind your back. When I was reading this book, I thought that his stories and characters were a little too colorful and a little too perfect to be true. And, as he tells the stories of his childhood, he comes across as a 40 year-old gay man trapped in an eight year-old's body (wow, that sentence doesn't sound right!). After I finished the book, I found that Mr. Sedaris does, indeed, subscribe to a rather fluid definition of "truth"--some of the instances were exaggerated. And, by "exaggerated', I mean "completely made up".

But these revelations have done little to stem the tide of bare-knuckled enthusiasm of his legion of fans. I am confronted by people who are adamant that, despite my protests to the contrary, I really do like David Sedaris. It seems that Mr. Sedaris' work has become a litmus test for a certain level of sophistication. If you tell people that you just don't care for David Sedaris, they look at you like you've got a mullet tucked into the collar of your shirt, a six pack of Old Milwaukee in the fridge, and a Tivo filled up with NASCAR races.

Well, I for one refuse to be pigeon-holed. And, today, I am calling on all like-minded people to join me! And, together, we can...uh not like Sedaris.

Say it with me! We're loud, we're proud...

...and we just don't care for David Sedaris!
Profile Image for Kasia.
76 reviews200 followers
January 1, 2010

That about sums it up.

Because, what's the point to these anecdotes? Are you trying to tell me something Mr. Sedaris? I think not. You think you're funny? Meh, not that funny. Special? You're not that special either. You're a writer, just another writer. What's the big deal?

As I said, I don't care much for your little stories. Seriously, my dear, I don't give a damn.
Profile Image for Tim.
18 reviews11 followers
October 3, 2012
Witty, wry, bitter, delightful.

My mom gave me the book. I was living in France at the time, so she thought David Sedaris and I would have a ton in common. She went to a Sedaris booksigning to get a personalized message to her gay son in France. After he was done reading, she jumped up to get him to write a note to me, "David! My son is gay! He's living in France right now, please sign this copy for him!" He had already started an orderly signing process, going down the rows. He looked at her disgustedly and intoned, "I'll get to you." He then skipped her row and did all the others first, making everyone in her row hate her (imagine the wrath of a row of David Sedaris fans - ouch). When he finally got to her - last - he said, "name?" and she started her story about me: "Tim. He's 17 and he's gay and he's been living in France this year, so if you could put something about France -" He handed her book back, not having heard anything past my name, instead writing some witty thing with bad grammar that played off the book's title. When I returned from France, my mother gave me the book but had lost all respect for the author. "It's a good book but he was a complete asshole," she said.

My mother's experience aside, I'm sure Sedaris is not actually a soulless, cruel person. If you want a light read by a smart, gay cynic, this is a great book.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
September 12, 2021
Me talk Pretty one day, David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day, published in 2000, is a bestselling collection of essays by American humorist David Sedaris.

The book is separated into two parts.

The first part consists of essays about Sedaris’s life before his move to Normandy, France, including his upbringing in suburban Raleigh, North Carolina, his time working odd jobs in New York City, and a visit to New York from a childhood friend and her bumpkinish girlfriend.

The second section, "Deux", tells of Sedaris’s move to Normandy with his partner Hugh, often drawing humor from his efforts to live in France without speaking the French language and his frustrated attempts to learn it. Prior to publication, several of the essays were read by the author on the Public Radio International program, This American Life.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و نهم ماه دسامبر سال 2013میلادی

عنوان: بالاخره یه روزی قشنگ حرف میزنم؛ اثر دیوید سداریس؛ مترجم: پیمان خاکسار؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، نشر چشمه، 1391؛ در 234ص؛ اندازه 5/21س.م در 5/14س.م، شابک 9786002291134؛ چاپ چهاردهم 1399؛ چاپ شانزدهم 1400؛ موضوع: داستانهای طنزآمیز نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21م

فهرست: مقدمه مترجم: یک: بتاز کارولینا؛ رویای غول آسا عرضه های کوتوله؛ مهندسی ژنتیک؛ دوازده لحظه در زندگی هنرمند؛ تو نمیتوانی خروس را بکشی؛ جوانان در آسیا؛ منحنی یادگیری؛ پسر گنده؛ جهش بزرگ رو به جلو؛ غذای ویژه ی امروز؛ شهر فرشتگان؛ درخشان مثل الماس؛ ناتکراکر دات کام؛

دو: دوباره دیروز میبینمت؛ بالاخره یک روز قشنگ حرف میزنم؛ جیزز شیوز؛ کرم نوار؛ بکنش دوتا؛ به یاد آوردن کودکی ام در قاره ی افریقا؛ شهر نور در تاریکی؛ من به کیف اعلام وفاداری میکنم؛ جیب بر و جیب بریانی؛ دختره داشت جلو چشمم میمرد؛ آدم با هوش؛ نمایش آخر شب؛ هرچه پوشیده را میخورم؛

مجموعه‌ ای از مقاله‌ ها، و یادداشت‌های طنز، اثر «دیوید سداریس»، نویسنده‌ ی «آمریکایی» است؛ جناب «پیمان خاکسار»، در مقدمه‌ ی کتاب، درباره‌ ی رفتن سراغ نویسنده‌ هایی همچون «سداریس»، و معرفی آن‌ها به خوانشگران فارسی‌ زبان، می‌نویسند: (ممکن است با دیدن عناوین بعضی از کتاب‌هایی که ترجمه کرده‌ ام با خودتان بگویید، این نویسنده‌ ها دیگر کیستند؟ شاید پیش خودتان فکر کنید، که خاکسار دوست دارد نویسنده‌ های بی‌ اهمیت و ناشناخته را از تاریک‌ترین کنج‌های ادبیات جهان پیدا کند، و آثارشان را ترجمه کند؛ این‌طور نیست؛ این نویسنده‌ ها مهم‌ هستند؛ شاید مهم‌تر و مشهورتر از کسانی که آثارشان در «ایران»، ترجمه و خوانده می‌شود؛ در دورانی که مخاطب ادبیات بودم، و ترجمه نمی‌کردم، همیشه برایم سئوال بود که چرا هیچ مترجمی سراغ این آثار نمی‌رود؟ شاید همین باعث شد، به ترجمه روی بیاورم، تا نویسنده‌ هایی را که دوستشان داشتم، ولی آثارشان به فارسی ترجمه نشده بود را، به شما معرفی کنم، تا در لذت خواندن‌شان باهم شریک شویم؛ «دیوید سداریس» هم از همین دسته نویسندگان است.) پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 03/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 20/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for David.
161 reviews1,451 followers
July 26, 2016
I've been thinking a lot about this, and I have come to the conclusion that David Sedaris is one of the worst human beings in history, i.e., since human beings were first invented by an incompetent, Jerry Lewis-like god or by the inscrutable permutations of natural phenomena. This isn't a moral judgment. It's more like when someone tells you that you have spinach stuck in your teeth. It's both the mere reportage of a fact and a public service. Because, after all, you wouldn't want to walk around all day with spinach in your teeth, and you wouldn't want to spend your life mistakenly thinking that David Sedaris wasn't evil and unfunny.

Maybe I hate David Sedaris so much (abstractly; not with the visceral hatred I have for Mariah Carey) because I imagine all of these young straight couples in J. Crew worsted wool sweaters throwing back their heads like Mrs. Howell, laughing at his weak but fashionable humor. Maybe they're in their Toyota Highlanders driving out to Restoration Hardware to look at the brushed steel knobs and the faux-Victorian gewgaws. Have you been to Oak Brook? They probably live there and have heated floor tiles and towel warmers in their bathroom. The women all look like cut-rate Carolyn Bessette-Kennedys (before the plane crash), and the men look like the guy getting married in The Hangover.

David Sedaris is an entry-level gay for these people, right? They're all liberal, sure, but out in Oak Brook their gay contacts are limited to the service industry. The housewares clerk at Lord & Taylor, the hairdresser, or that one swishy waiter at Maggiano's who's stingy with the bread basket. You know, the usual A-Team of tanned men with shaved forearms and hyperreal hairdos.

What I am saying is that David Sedaris is a nice accessory. Sure, your grandparents might find some of his humor off-color or distasteful, but in the age of Sarah Silverman he's almost quaint. Anal sex (and its intimations) take on a Bombeckian glow in his hands. And that kerrunk, kerrunk sound you hear is Jean Genet rolling over in his grave (and masturbating on a pile of his own feces).

There are currently twenty-one people on my friends list who have rated this book. Only two have assigned it fewer than three stars. Defend yourselves, bourgeois scum. I mean that affectionately. You probably thought Bob Saget was funny on America's Funniest Home Videos too, didn't you?
Profile Image for Justin Tate.
Author 7 books909 followers
March 25, 2019
Ah! My first David Sedaris read--not counting the weird Squirrel book--and I finally understand what all the fuss is about. The humor is so good it's mesmerizing. I'm in awe of his ability to make ordinary life sparkle through such rich narration.

There is no mundane task that Sedaris cannot do without dazzling the reader. Anything and everything is cause for social commentary and uproarious observation. From learning to play the guitar to going to the movies to an unusually large turd floating in the toilet, he finds opportunity to poke fun at the world, poke fun at himself, and combine various events into unforgettable knee-slapping comedy.

Truly a landmark, I totally get why this book continues to endure nearly 20 years later. It is an instant-classic that belongs just behind Mark Twain, if not--dare I say--in front.
Profile Image for Jen CAN.
486 reviews1,358 followers
March 28, 2017
Sedaris is a quirky kind of writer. I needed a palate cleanser after the last few heavy reads and this one delivered. From a betrayal of the tongue (which required speech therapy), to a midget music teacher and some various comical moments in his life, his memoir had me chuckling out loud and talking about it to whomever was in the room.
But alas, a third of the way in, it read like a rant and I quickly became bored. What began as a breath of fresh air became stale but did give a final gasp at the end.
First two thirds razor sharp; last 3rd, kind of dull. For that I'm rating this 3.5***
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,198 reviews40.7k followers
December 7, 2020
Great way to spend your weekend! Please turn on the audiobook and listen this spectacular, smart, extremely humorous essays!

First part consists of author’s life before his move to France. Some snippets from suburban Raleigh/ NC life and moving to big apple, working at bizarre jobs for making ends meet. ( so entertaining)

But the second part (in French “ deux”) about moving to Normandy / France with his partner Hugh, adjusting process, his efforts to talk in French and suffering from failures was so much better! I fell down from my couch several times as I laughed too hard. My stomach still hurts! Why didn’t I read the author’s other works before?

I highly recommend this amazing read! Especially the audiobook is quite fascinating! A great way to brighten your mood and have an enjoyable Saturday!
44 reviews
April 29, 2008
If I were in someone else's bathroom and there were no other reading materials except for something by David Sedaris, I would pick it up and flip through it. I probably would even find myself slightly amused. But my basic opinion about David Sedaris - which is that he is boring, not very funny, mean and bitchy, and too lazy to write a novel - would remain unchanged.

Remember when people who had fucked up or interesting lives drew on their personal experiences to create artful, often symbolic stories that speak to some kind of greater human existence? Remember when people basically only wrote their autobiography after they had accomplished many other notable things in their life? At the very least, one would use the events of their life to address some important social issue.

Among others, we have David Sedaris to thank for ushering in the age of this crappy, voyeristic autobiography sub-genre that is basically the print version of reality tv. So somebody has a weird, dysfunctional family. So do most of us. It's really not that interesting.

The title of the book is pretty lame. Did you really talk like that, David? No, I don't think you did. I think you were just a middle-class gay kid who lisped, got sent to speech therapy for it, and then wanted to pretend that you were more marginalized than you actually were.

Also, his sister is way funnier than he is.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,825 followers
February 10, 2017
Another collection of Sedaris tales as we have come to know and love. His cynical banter and humorous anecdotes shine again. While some might say the same old formula gets old, with Sedaris it is expected and greatly appreciated. (I even heard he changed the formula in a recent book and it was not well received)

I listened to the audio and love hearing the words from the mouth of the author. His delivery and timing are perfect - which I suppose is to be expected as they are his words, but not every author can read their words as well as they write. It is great how he can make every mundane activity an entertaining anecdote.

If you like a little humorous getaway, check out this and other Sedaris books.
Profile Image for Gypsy.
399 reviews508 followers
October 3, 2015

ریویو رو دو بار نوشتم و پاک شد و منم خب لجباز بازم می نویسم. با پی سی دیگه ای دارم می تایپم و خعلی تحت فشارم. :دی خیلی خلاصه می گم. من آدمی ام که دنبال خندیدنم و این کتاب بهم ندادش راستشو بخواین. نه این که اصلاْ نخندم یا بگم لوس و خنک و مسخره بود. ولی اون قدرام خنده دار نبود. نهایت خندیدنم یه پوزخند دو ثانیه ای بود. البته این وسط چیزی هس که طنز رو حساس می کنه و اونم ظرافت های ادبی و زبانی و همچنین فرهنگی و ارزشی و عرفی هس. این جاس که مترجم به چالش کشیده میشه و همت و زحمت می طلبه و خلاقیتش سنجیده میشه. با این حال مترجم و نویسنده تقریباْ بی تقصیرن و بر می گرده به همون جریان ظرافت ها و اینا. اما دلیل سه دادنم هدف طنز بود. ینی نقد. نقد اجتماعی و اخلاقی و فرهنگی نویسنده که خاطراتشو به شدت صادقانه و خالصانه بیان می کرد و باعث شد من دیدم به خودم و زندگیم عوض شه. ینی کم تر به خودم سخت بگیرم و این قد غرغرو نباشم و بدخلقی نکنم. فک کنم همین برای یه نویسنده کافی باشه. مگه چه انتظاری از مخاطبش داره جز تاثیر گذاری و به فکر فرو بردنش؟
Profile Image for Gemma.
248 reviews21 followers
February 13, 2008
This book has been my tube companion for the past fortnight. It is the perfect accompaniment to the London commute for two reasons:

1) The essays are perfectly formed, so you can be assured that you'll be able to finish 3 little chunks over 40 minutes or so. Once the train trundled into Westminster station I would know to quicken my pace so as to finish another section before alighting at Blackfriars and elbowing some bankers.

2) My tube line is the epitome of the British stiff upper lip. People's faces remain practically emotionless from Putney to Barking to Richmond and up to High Street Kensington. Of course, scrum tackles take place at each station as people push on during rush hour. But NO emotions pass across the face of a commuter. Apart from perhaps a slight grimace when the new arrival feels it necessary to share all the details of their skiing holiday with the entire carriage.

Anyway - to the point! With Sedaris in my hand I have been snorting, honking and smiling as never before seen on the District Line. The 50 something lady who settled into her seat at Wimbledon with the Daily Telegraph looks up nervously. The banker ignoring the opinion section of the FT for the far more fascinating Stocks and shares pages shifts nervously. And then I snort once more. Being in such a cheery mood, once a seat becomes available I offer it to the young lady in slightly uncomfortable looking high heels reading the bible (aka the Metro) thus leaving the assembled masses concerned that I may be clinically insane and yet on their train.

Profile Image for Adina ( On hiatus until next week) .
827 reviews3,232 followers
March 31, 2020
Since the Coronavirus pandemic was declared, I started to watch more stand-up comedy and follow The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (from his home). I felt like I needed a laugh between my constant watching of the Coronavirus cases count and the news reports about the same enemy. I wanted to read David Sedaris for the same reason, to lighten my days a bit. I enjoyed listening to his narration of this essay collection but I can't say I was entertained. I laughed maybe once or twice and for the rest I was either sorry for him, or partially indifferent to the story. The first essay about his Speech Therapy was the best and after that I began to lose interest. I have to admit that I did not sympathise with his need to get high in order to achieve his artistic goals, I was thinking "you're shit at art, just get over it and find a job that suits you." Some essays resuscitated my interest but then I was bored again while listening to others.
Profile Image for Fabian.
947 reviews1,562 followers
December 12, 2018
A reviewer was correct when he said: "Sedaris can turn a rant into a thing of beauty." (Michael Upchurch-Seattle Times) But only correct about the noun/verb "rant." That he does in profusion; all these "essays" are rants about his life & times. But "Thing of beauty?" Absolutely not.

For a popular writer, Mr. Sedaris maintains that he is more important than anything else, anybody else, any other subject. He only looks at himself in situations and tells us his witty reactions/musings. Funny, a little, but it's actually like talking to someone adamant about taking nothing too seriously while displaying extreme sarcasm. I could not relate to a single thing this dude wrote about!

About his trips to France (just check this out): "There are plenty of places on Earth where Americans are greeted with enthusiasm. Unfortunately, these places tend to lack anything you'd really want to buy. & that, to me, is the only reason to leave home in the first place--to buy things."

Aggh! This All-American mentality: GROSS.
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,345 reviews4,865 followers
August 31, 2021

David Sedaris and friend

This loosely autobiographical memoir from humorist David Sedaris is divided into essays, many of which are laugh out loud funny. The topics include Sedaris's childhood rebellion against speech therapy, unwanted guitar lessons taught by a midget, drug fueled (and extended) college years, weird presentations as an untalented performance artist, amusing interactions with his family and friends, living in France with his boyfriend Hugh, and more. I listened to the audio version of the book, narrated by the author, and enjoyed it immensely.

Little David Sedaris with his sister Lisa and mother Sharon

School age David Sedaris with his sister Amy

College age David Sedaris

Sedaris's stories may stretch the truth on occasion, but they're very entertaining. For example:

As an art major in college, Sedaris took a pottery class: "With their thick clumsy bases my mugs weighed in at close to five pounds each. The color was muddy and the lips rough and uninviting." Sedaris's mother used these 'gifts' as pet bowls until "a cat chipped a tooth and went on a hunger strike."


After Sedaris graduated from The Art Instutute of Chicago in 1987 he was offered a job teaching a writing workshop. Having no idea how to prepare lesson plans, Sedaris divided the twice weekly, two-hour class into a series of discussion periods including: Celebrity Corner - during which pupils presented gossip about rock bands and movie stars; Feed Bag Forum - where students brought in one-pot recipes (Sedaris had a new crock pot); Pillow Talk - during which students could discuss their private sex lives - or failing that - watch the soap opera 'One Life to Live.'

The latter activity was turned into a real writing exercise when the pupils were asked to prepare a 'guessay' about what would happen on the TV show next day. To Sedaris's dismay the attendees came up with things like 'the long lost daughter turns out to be a vampire' or 'Vicky chokes to death on a submarine sandwich.'

Later on, when the students were required to submit their own stories Sedaris would type up evaluations like "punctuation never hurt anyone" or "think verbs".....so for the most part he and the students got along.

(I can relate to the bad teaching. I had a professor for a class in 'Insect Physiology' that only talked about baseball teams and deparmental gossip. He got canned pretty quickly. 😎)


Sedaris doesn't enjoy eating in New York restaurants, partly because his artsy Soho neighborhood "isn't a macaroni salad kind of place" but rather an area where "the world's brightest young talents come to eat racks of corn fed songbirds." Even simple dishes are dressed up: "The meatloaf has been poached in seawater and there are figs in the tuna salad."


Sedaris notes, "I'd order the skirt steak with a medley of suffocated peaches but I'm put off by the aspirin sauce" and "The sea scallops look good until I'm told they're served in a broth of malt liquor and mummified lichee nuts." Moreover, "The food is always arranged into a senseless vertical tower; it now reaches for the sky, much like the high rise buildings lining our city streets. It's as if the plates were valuable parcels of land and the chef had purchased one small lot, along with unlimited air rights."

Onion rings in vertical tower


Sedaris's friend Alicia from North Carolina came to visit him in New York and brought a friend named Bonnie. Bonnie didn't take to the city because "unfortunately, visiting Americans will find more warmth in Tehran than New York - a city founded on the principles 'us vs. them'." Sedaris observes, "I don't speak Latin but I always assumed the city motto translates into either 'go home' or 'we don't like you either'."


Sedaris was born in 1956 and the computer revolution took him completely by surprise. He notes, "There were no computers in my high school and the first few times I attempted college people were still counting on their fingers and removing their shoes when the numbers got above ten." Sedaris writes, "I became aware of computers in the mid-1980s when my friends starting sending creepy Christmas newsletters designed to look like tabloids.....titled 'The Herald Family Tribune' and 'Whassup with the Wexlers.' To top it off, his acquaintances started to "send letters composed to look like Chinese takeout menus and the Dead Sea Scrolls."

Sedaris writes, "I refuse to have a computer. The harder I'm pressured to use a computer the harder I resist. One by one all my friends have deserted me and fled to the dark side. 'How can I write you if you don't have an email address?' they ask. They talk of their B-trees and disc doctors and then have the nerve to complain when I discuss bowel obstructions at the dinner table."

David Sedaris prefers typewriters to computers


Sedaris's boyfriend Hugh had lived in France for a while, and the partners spent a few summers in Normandy before moving to Paris for several years. Talking about France, Sedaris observes, "My understanding was that no matter what we tried the French would never like us. And that's confusing for an American raised to believe that the people of other countries should be grateful for all the wonderful things we've done for them....."Things like movies that stereotype the people of Europe as bores and petty snobs.....and remarks like, "We saved your ass in World War II'."

David Sedaris lived in France for a while

David Sedaris and his boyfriend Hugh Hamrick

David Sedaris and Hugh Hamrick


During Sedaris's first visit to Normandy, his French vocabulary was limited to words like 'ashtray', 'bottleneck', and the phrase 'see you again yesterday.' He made an effort to learn new phrases and "Went from talking like a baby to talking like a hillbilly." In a butcher shop Sedaris asked, "Is them the thoughts of cows?" - pointing to cow brains.....and requested "lambchops with handles."


In Paris, Sedaris took a French class with other foreign residents. The class was daunting and the teacher was volatile. Sedaris writes, "My only comfort was knowing I was not alone. Huddled in hallways my fellow students and I engaged in conversations normally heard in refugee camps. For example, one student lamented, 'Sometime me cry alone at night' and another responded, 'That be common for I also, but be more strong you. Much work and someday you talk pretty.'

In the second month of French classes - during a lesson about holidays - a Muslim student from Morocco asked, 'What is an Easter?' The teacher asked the students to explain. A Polish girl started, 'It is a party for the little boy of God who call hisself Jesus and'......she faltered and her fellow countryman chimed in.....'He call hisself Jesus and he die one day on two morsels of lumber.' According to Sedaris, "The rest of the class jumped in with bits of information that would have given the Pope an aneurysm".....explanations like, "He die one day and then he go above of my head to live with your father'..... and 'He weared of himself the long hair and after he die the first day he come back here for to say hello to the peoples.'


To help expand his vocabulary, Sedaris's sister Amy sent him the audiobook of 'Pocket Medical French', designed for visiting doctors and nurses. From this gem Sedaris learned "conversational sparklers" like 'remove your dentures and all your jewelry'.....'you now need to deliver the afterbirth'.....and 'could I trouble you for a stool sample' (among others).

David's sister Amy is an actress, comedian, and writer


Sedaris goes on to say, "I never thought much about how Americans were viewed overseas until I came to France and was expected to look and behave in a certain way. About his appearance, Sedaris says, "If I was thin it was because I'd recently lost the extra fifty pounds cushioning the standard American ass".....and "If I was pushy it was typical.....and if I wasn't it was probably due to Prozac."


Talking about expenses in France, Sedaris says, "Shortly after moving into my Paris apartment, I noticed a leak in the bathroom and phoned the landlord to say, "The toilet, she cry much of the time." Bathroom repairs cost him $1000.00 for a job that would be $300.00 in the United States.

Thus, the author feared a doctor visit would be truly exorbitant. However, an office visit to a French dentist cost only $25.00, so Sedaris felt brave enough to go to an eye doctor. He explained to the optician, "From the time I had five years I have worn of myself some glasses".....and "Then when I had 20 years I said to myself, 'Enough of this. I am tired of something living all the time upon my nose'." Sedaris goes on to say, "I got a new pair of glasses and I'm still adjusting to all the subtle things I've been missing all these years, things like the expressions of disgust that typically cross people's faces when they discover that they're talking to an idiot."


Sedaris also muses about food. He notes, "In a French market, in the section devoted to foreign foods, I came across a large can of peanut butter and it broke my heart. Peanut butter is not something you traditonally find in France and I could sense that someone had gone through a great deal of trouble to make this happen. The problem of course, was the can....the items that come in cans are generally the things that you use in one or two sittings, like cat food or baked beans. The French manufacturer obviously had the impression that homesick Americans just sit around with tablespoons and go through a pound of peanut butter in a single afternoon, shoveling it in until they pass out."

Sedaris also writes, "In France, I often leaf through cookbooks looking for vocabulary words that might come in handy. That's how I learned the verbs 'to simmer, to dice, and to set aside the beak'."


And finally, Sidaris's friend lent him a book called "Imperial Dishes of China." The author observes, "As a working cookbook I felt like it left too many holes. When told to 'arrange the camel paw attractively' my first question was..... how ? Camel paws don't even look attractive on camels. On top of that, where are you supposed to buy these ingredients in the first place? if you can't locate a single camel paw can you use two dozen cat paws instead?"

Imperial food of China


At the end of the book Sedaris talks about moving back into his parents basement when he was between colleges, using drugs, and unemployed. His father told him to leave, and Sedaris assumed it was for the above reasons. However, Sedaris's mother - breaking into sobs - apologetically explained that his father threw him out because he was gay. This made me feel a little sad.


I'd recommend the book to Sedaris fans and anyone else who likes hilarious memoirs.

David Sedaris and friend

You can follow my reviews at http://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot.com/
Profile Image for Michael.
655 reviews966 followers
April 20, 2020
A collection of humor essays on speech and language, Me Talk Pretty One Day is David Sedaris’s most focused work as well as his most famous. The collection brings together stories describing the author’s family and childhood, travel writings addressing his move to France, and personal pieces reflecting on his aimlessness as a young adult. From recounting his experience of speech therapy as an elementary student to recalling his first gig teaching language and writing, Sedaris covers many subjects without straying from the collection’s theme. His writing is sarcastic and self-indulgent, and it’s better listened to than read. The collection isn’t life changing, but it passes the time nicely on a long commute or at work.
Profile Image for Bob.
367 reviews1 follower
July 23, 2008
Yes. I realize this book is supposed to be hilarious. Yes. I realize I'm not a hip gen-x'er if I don't happen to think it is. Yet...

I feel like Sedaris accurately summed up his entire approach to writing on page 44: "True art was based upon despair, and the important thing was to make yourself and those around you as miserable as possible." He meant this as satire, I'm sure...but what I found truly halarious was that he didn't even realize that he just described the book I was currently reading.

Upon describing his life, Sedaris wants you to think it's funny. In reality, it's just despair...and he wants you to go down the tubes with him.

I decided that reading this book was like sitting in a small space with someone who drones on and on about how horrible their life is. Normally in that situation you can get up and leave or tell them to shut up. In this case, all I could do was stop reading. So, out of respect for the friend that recommended it, I read exactly half (stopping midsentence)...then I told the author to shut up and dumped him in the library drop box.

The only funny part of this book was the brief chapter on poop. But even southpark can make that funny. Sedaris is supposed to be funny...I guess I'm un-hip and not a real Gen-x'er...because I find him miserable. He's pushed me back to reading and loving the classics one more time.
Profile Image for Calista.
3,878 reviews31.2k followers
April 4, 2019
I think this period, right around 2000, a little before and after, is David's best writing era. He seems to be at this best and most funny I think.

I love this collection. He has a multitude of stories about living in France with Hue. I love the peak into his experience of France or even NYC for that matter. His family plays a huge role in his stories as usual. I do wonder if he and Hue are still together. I would guess not, simply because he is famous and famous people rarely stick together.

He also has a funny story about being a writing teacher. I often wonder what real life would be like for him and how much is exaggerated for his writing or altered to create something funny. I know life is really weird and people strange, so there is probably a lot that happens to him, that is just like he says.

This collection had me laughing robustly. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection and I think it is my favorite outside of SantaLand diaries which can't be beat; so far. This tickled my funny bone, so I'm very happy. David is a nice relief from the stress of school right now. I will continue to read more of his stuff.
Profile Image for kian.
198 reviews51 followers
April 12, 2017
با ترجمه پيمان خاكسار.

هرگز به عمرم نديدم پدرم جز از قفسه‌هايي كه بالايشان نوشته: حراج به دليل نزديكي تاريخ انقضا، چيزي بردارد. تمام اقلام قفسه‌هاي ديگر براي او نامرئي بودند.
به خاطر چيزي كه مادرم «يه جو شخصيت» مي‌ناميد، من و خواهرانم به ندرت وارد اتاق پشتي مي‌شديم. بهتر بود فاصله‌مان را حفظ كنيم و خودمان را بچه‌هاي آدم ديگري جا بزنيم.
بالاخره پدرمان برمي‌گشت با دستهايي پر از ميوه‌هاي متلاشي كه هيچ شباهتي به ميوه نداشتند...
پيام عملش اين بود: اگر چيزي مجاني است، بهترينش را سوا كن! و...
سداريس، كتاب را به پدرش «لو سداريس» تقديم كرده. كسي كه در سراسر كتابهايش، از او با جزئيات تمام حرف مي‌زند و تو را به خنده مي‌اندازد..
سداريس در طنزش، شديدا صادق است و همين باعث مي‌شود طنزش، تصنعي نباشد..
درمجموع، بين كتابهايي كه اين مدت ازش خوندم، اين به نظرم بهتر از همه بود. البته، «مادربزرگتو از اين جا ببر» هم خوب بود.

Profile Image for Glenn Sumi.
404 reviews1,531 followers
November 23, 2019
Incredibly, this is the first Sedaris book I've read, and it more than lives up to the hype.

Calling him a humourist doesn't do him justice. Sure, he's read-aloud-to-your-friends funny, but he's also a shrewd social satirist and very, very smart, able to evoke the pain of childhood speech therapy classes, the humiliation of learning French as an adult, or the mortification of finding a huge turd in a friend's toilet (this latter story, by the way, is only in the abridged audio version of the book - I both listened to and read the complete book).

A couple of essays seem like filler, but the best – about learning jazz guitar from a little person, or being a drug-addled performance artist, or witnessing a down-home rube’s experience of Manhattan – are vivid, fresh and so casual-sounding you know they took a lot of effort.

Sedaris is so brilliant he even makes that overcooked routine – ordering food in a trendy, intimidating New York restaurant – into something genuinely funny.

And there's an emotional core to many of these essays too – particularly in ones involving his father, Lou, to whom the book is dedicated.

I recommend listening to the author himself read from the audiobook – his unmistakable, somewhat babyish voice adds layers to the text – and then picking up the book later, as I did, to savour the craft.

I can’t wait to read more of his books.

** UPDATE APRIL 2015: I did read another Sedaris book, the early volume Barrel Fever, but wasn't as impressed **
Profile Image for Parastoo Ashtian.
108 reviews98 followers
May 3, 2016
هیچ‌وقت مدافع سرسخت فرانسوی‌ها نبوده‌ام ولی واقعا باید به ملتی که تحت هیچ شرایطی موقع فیلم تماشا کردن حرف نمی‌زنند احترام گذاشت. من این‌جا کنار گروهی بچه مدرسه‌ای که به دیدن یک فیلم مزخرف بزن‌بکش آمده‌اند نشسته‌ام و حتی یک نفر لب از لب باز نکرده. آخرین باری که در یک سینمای آمریکایی سکوت را تجربه کردم یادم نیست. فکر کنم تماشاگران ما تمام روز حرف نمی زنند و تمام حرف‌هایشان را می‌گذارند برای وقتی که فیلم شروع می‌شود. یک بار در یک سینمای معمولی نیویورک زدم روی شانه‌ی مردی که جلوم نشسته بود و نقدش را قطع کردم و ازش پرسیدم که آیا می‌خواهد کل فیلم را حرف بزند؟ گفت: خب آره. چه طور مگه؟ بدوت این که در لحنش نشانی از شرمندگی یا عذرخواهی باشد. انگار که ازش پرسیده بودم قصد دارد خونش گردش داشته باشد یا هوا را به داخل ریه‌هایش بفرستد. ولم کن بابا چرا نباید حرف بزنم؟ از پشت سر جناب منتقد بلند شدم و کنار پیشگویی نشستم که با صدای بلند سرنوشت تک تک شخصیت‌های فیلم را می‌گفت، شخصیت‌هایی که روی پرده لب‌شان تکان می‌خورد. بعد هم یک زوج پیر آمدند که دائم فکر می‌کردند چیزی را از دست داده‌اند. هر بار غریبه‌ای که تا آن لحظه در فیلم دیده نشده بود در خانه‌ی کسی را می‌زد می‌پرسیدند: این کیه؟ می‌خواستم بهشان اطمینان بدهم که به موقع جواب سؤالاتشان را خواهند گرفت ولی چون اعتقاد دارم نباید سر فیلم حرف زد دوباره جا عوض کردم به این امید که وسط دو نفر بنشینم که یا خواب‌شان برده باشد یا مرده باشند.

از متن کتاب
Profile Image for Ms. Smartarse.
590 reviews248 followers
April 1, 2020
I like funny stuff a lot. So much so, that I'm always on the lookout for a good quote to use as a timely comeback. I say this fully aware, that I will most probably end up misquoting it, and thus ruin the whole thing. But the principle of the thing stands: I read something hilarious, that might have related to this thing...probably.

Me Talk Pretty One Day is one of those books that sounded awfully preachy, based on its title alone. But then I stumbled on a totally hilarious audio excerpt, which all but blew my mind. Finally someone with the same questionable humor, that I had!

Anime epic mindblow

And boy did it start promising! A speech therapist compared to an evil secret service agent, intent on torturing our brave hero. And since no calamity comes alone, of course our mighty protagonist's teacher had to join in as well.

If I got up from my seat at 2:25, she'd say, "Sit back down, David. You've still got 5 minutes before your speech therapy session." If I remained seated until 2:27, she'd say, "David, don't forget you have a speech therapy session at 2:30." On the days I was absent, I imagined she addressed the room, saying, "David's not here today but if he were, he'd have a speech therapy session at 2:30."

Needless to say, that with two such heinous villains I was earnestly rooting for our intrepid hero to come up with creative ways to outsmart them. Making his weapon of choice a thesaurus, all but propelled him to the height of coolness.

After a few weeks of what she called “endless pestering” and what I called “repeated badgering”, my mother bought me a pocket thesaurus, which provided me with s-free alternatives to just about everything. I consulted the book both at home in my room and at the daily learning academy other people called our school. Agent Samson was not amused when I began referring to her as an articulation coach, but the majority of my teachers were delighted. “What a nice vocabulary,” they said. “My goodness, such big words!”

geeky coolness

But after the end of the first chapter, my enthusiasm started to slowly but surely vane. For the most part, things tended to put me to sleep. This once again proves that no matter how humorously you paint your life, I just can't seem to muster up enough interest in it. Yes, I'm that horrible.

Jazz for instance, is one of those things that I just don't get. Every so often I try to listen to it for a few minutes, only to find my mind rebelling against its irregular rhythm, lack of chorus, and predictability in general.

Having had most of my artistic tendencies replaced with science-y pursuits early on, I can't say I relish the prospect of getting high in order to preen about my crappy drawings. Plus with my penchant for stressing over the weirdest crap, my experience would probably end up being totally dismal. Heck, I could feel my stress levels rising just reading about the author's irresponsible drug use.


Admittedly, my mood improved seriously when I got to the chapters relating to our protagonist's experiences in language school. Those stories, were pure gold, and they (partially) mirror my own language goals:

Though I have yet to use any of my new commands and questions, I find that, in learning them, I am finally able to imagine myself Walkman-free and plunging headfirst into an active and rewarding social life. That’s me at the glittering party, refilling my champagne glass and turning to ask my host if he’s noticed any unusual discharge. “We need to start an IV,” I’ll say to the countess while boarding her yacht. “But first could I trouble you for a stool sample?”

Note to self: insert creepy medical jargon into everyday conversation. Naturally.

Selena Gomez - Naturally

Score: 3.3 /5 stars

I feel like if I ever need the perfect comeback, this book will provide it... if only I'll be patient enough to continue looking for it. Otherwise, thank you GoodReads for the quotes collection, because I'm so not rereading this anytime soon. The last 10% of the book took me 3 days to wade through, making me literally fall asleep 2 phrases in...
Profile Image for Fereshteh.
250 reviews569 followers
February 20, 2015
طنز جالبی که بی مزه نباشه ژانریه که تو محصولات فرهنگی داخلی کمتر بهش برخورد کردم و کمبودش رو همیشه حس میکنم و به ناچار برای تجربه ش سراغ سریالها و فیلم ها و کتابهای عمدتا امریکایی رفتم..ژانری که بخش زیادیش با مسائل فرهنگی همون جا آمیخته شده

شاید برای من قسمت زیادی از لذت کتاب،ناشی از خوندن متن اصلی بود ولی باز هم میخوام اینجا از آقای خاکسار بابت ترجمه ی کارهای سداریس تشکر کنم.فکر میکنم به قسمت عظیمی از اهدافشون که اشنا کردن مخاطب ایرانی با نویسندگان کمتر شناخته شده ولی خوب بود،رسیدند
متن اصلی شامل 28 داستان بود ولی اینطور که شنیدم نسخه ی فارسی 26 تا داستان داره

کتاب حاضر به دو بخش تقسیم شده
بخش اول خاطرات شخصی و خانوادگی نویسنده بود که احساس میکنم علاوه بر طنز با چاشنی خیال هم مخلوط شدند.ایده و فکر پشت داستان ها رو دوست داشتم و حتی صرفنظر از تفاوت های فرهنگی با بعضی هاشون خیلی احساس نزدیکی کردم:این که چه طور والدین برای اینده ی بچه هاشون نقشه میکشند،چه طور با گذر زمان روش تربیتی اعمالیشون روی بچه هاتا به بچه اخر برسه ملایم و لطیف و منعطف میشه،توصیف روند سریع ولی غیرقابل پیش بینی پیشرفت استفاده از کامپیوتر و اینترنت تو همه کارهای روزمره

داستان تجربه ی تدریس تو کارگاه داستان نویسی،انتقاد از رستورانهای شیک و باکلاس، نگهداری از حیوانات اهلی و قضیه معتاد و هنرمند شدنش هم فوق العاده خنده دار بود

بخش دوم هم اختصاص داره به سفر نویسنده به فرانسه برای اقامت همراه دوست پسرش و سختی هایی که در مسیر یادگیری زبان سخت و پیچیده ای مثل فرانسوی متحمل میشه
تو این فصل به شدت با مرارت های یادگیری این زبان با سداریس همدردی میکردم...توصیف دو توریست امریکایی تو مترو که دیوید رو با یه جیب بر فرانسوی اشتباه گرفته بودند هم به عنوان مثالی از حماقت امریکایی شاهکار در اومده بود

کتاب برخلاف اسمش که داستان زندگی غمناک پسربچه ای لال رو به ذهن میاره نیست و ساعاتی سراسرلبخند،خنده و گاها قهقهه رو براتون به دنبال داره

سداریس،نویسنده ی عزیزی که بی زحمت شما رو می خندونه
Profile Image for Maede.
275 reviews396 followers
December 9, 2021
دیوید سداریس، نویسنده و طنزپرداز معروف آمریکایی در این کتاب از تجربه‌ی بزرگ شدن در شهری‌ کوچک، زندگی در نیویورک و شیکاگو، همجنسگرایی، کالج، استفاده از مواد و زندگیش در فرانسه می‌نویسه. برای من داستان‌ها کاملاً معمولی بودند. با اینکه متوجه طنز ظریفش می‌شدم، روی من تقریباً هیچ اثری نداشت. فقط وقتی از شدت خسته شدن از کتاب سراغ ورژن صوتی با صدای خودش رفتم، اجراهای سداریس جلوی حضار از چند داستانی که همشون توی کتاب هم نیستن برام جالب بودن و ستاره دوم هم فقط به خاطر همینه

خلاصه به شدت توصیه می‌کنم اگر در مورد این کتاب کنجکاوید سراغ کتاب صوتیش برید. نکته‌ای که راجع به طنز هست اینه که خیلی سلیقه‌ایه و سداریس ممکنه به ذائقه‌ی شما خوش بیاد ولی برای من طنزش خشک و آبکی بود

M's Books :کتاب و صوتیش

Profile Image for Ginger.
753 reviews373 followers
January 19, 2018
3.5 stars from me!

My real life book club choose this for our January book read. I'm glad they did because this was a funny and quirky book to read. I enjoyed all the stories of his family, his time in Paris, living in NYC and also trying to learn how to speak French.

David Sedaris has a unique and funny way of looking at situations and I loved it! I will definitely read more books of his in the future.

Recommended for people who like to laugh, who like witty dialogue and who do not get offended by how ridiculous Americans can be. You know who you are! Stay away from this book. 🤣
June 26, 2021

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So I'm doing this project where I'm rereading some of the books I enjoyed as an adolescent and seeing what holds up and what doesn't. David Sedaris was one of my high school faves because he was just snarky and inappropriate enough to make me feel edgy, but just snobby enough to make me feel grown-up. Having read ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY 10+ years later, I have to say that I basically feel the same way. His sense of humor is not for everyone. I feel like he has a very "British" sense of humor; it reminds me a lot of Black Adder, in that it's a blend of intellectual superiority, toilet humor, and very cuttingly observant insights about society and its foibles. I don't normally laugh at a lot of so-called humor books, but this made me giggle out loud several times. It was UPROARIOUS (to me).

In this collection of autobiographical essays, Sedaris talks about his addiction to drugs, his stint as a creative writing teacher, his foul-mouthed younger brother who refers to himself as "The Rooster" (one of the best chapters, imo), his French teacher who said that being in his presence was like undergoing a cesarean every day (ouch), and the speech therapist who sneaked into his life like a government agent. He has such an interesting life and the way he writes is just SO FUNNY. I don't know how much of it he made up or took liberties with and I don't even care. That's how good it is.

If you like funny memoirs, read this book. I feel like Augusten Burroughs tries to channel his energy but as with chocolate and vanilla, Coke and Pepsi, and The Illusionist and The Prestige, one is clearly superior to the other. ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY definitely holds up!

4.5 to 5 stars
Profile Image for Maziar MHK.
174 reviews152 followers
March 6, 2020
گرچه این کتاب در دایره یِ وسیع "طنز" نوشته شده و البته پرفروشِ بازار نشرِ مکتوباتِ انگلیسی زبان هایِ آمریکایی است اما برای خواننده یِ ایرانی ای که سال های ِ سال در دهه هفتاد و هشتاد میلادی در آمریکا نَزیسته و تجربه یِ یک آمریکائی یونانی تبار، مدتی مقیمِ فرانسه نبوده، اصلا و ابدا خنده دار و مفرح نیست، شک نکنید
Profile Image for Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile.
2,029 reviews587 followers
July 15, 2021
This was my first David Sedaris book, and I was not disappointed. Each essay was clever and funny in its own way, and I enjoyed hearing about his life, especially his time in France. I will definitely pick up more books by him when I come across them.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
916 reviews13.9k followers
July 30, 2018
This is the first book I've read by Sedaris, but I will certainly be picking up more in the future! He writes witty essays about his life, this collection specifically focusing on a period when he moved to Paris and was learning French, with other stories sprinkled in. His writing was funny without trying to be too edgy, punny, or forced. The audiobook is narrated by him, and there's even certain parts of it that are recordings of live readings. I really enjoyed this because you got to hear his delivery of the story, as well as how he interacts with an audience. My only gripe is that the audiobook weirdly omitted some stories that were in my physical copy of the book. Still, all of these were easy and fun to read, not requiring too much brain power, but still offering a good message.
Profile Image for Erica.
31 reviews3 followers
March 31, 2008
"You could turn up your nose at the president or Coke or even God, but there were names for boys who didn't like sports."

"Lisa had been born with a lazy leg that had refused to grow at the same rate as it's twin. I liked the idea that a part of one's body might be thought of as lazy--not thoughtless or hostile, just unwilling to extend itself for the betterment of the team."

"She was what we called Tanorexic."

"My father is the type who once recited a bawdy limerick: "A woman I know who's quite blunt/Had a beartrap installed in her... oh, you know. It's a base, vernacular word for the vagina." He can absolutely kill a joke."

"If she's old enough to bleed, she's old enough to breed."

"I can't promise I'll never kill anyone again. It's unrealistic to live your life within such strict parameters."

"My first goal was to make him my boyfriend, to trick or blackmail him into making some sort of commitment. I know it sounds calculating, but if you're not cute, you might as well be clever."

"Every day we're told that we live in the greatest country on earth. And it's always stated as an undeniable fact: Leos are born between July 23 and August 22, fitted queen-size sheets measure sixty by eighty inches, and America is the greatest country on earth. Having grown up with this in our ears, it's startling to realize that other countries have nationalistic slogans of their own, none of which are "We're number two!""

"Wearing a walkman is like being deaf with none of the disadvantages."

"In New York I'd go to the movies three or four times a week. Here I've upped it to six or seven, mainly because I'm too lazy to do anything else. Fortunately, going to the movies seems to suddenly qualify as an intellectual accomplishment, on par with reading a book or devoting time to serious thought. It's not that the movies have gotten any more strenuous, it's just that a lot of people are as lazy as I am, and together we've agreed to lower the bar."
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