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Me Talk Pretty One Day

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  579,793 ratings  ·  16,496 reviews
David Sedaris' move to Paris from New York inspired these hilarious pieces, including the title essay, 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 b ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published 2001 by Little, Brown and Company (first published May 2nd 2000)
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Kyle These stories are in the book but left out of the audiobook:
"Genetic Engineering"
"You Can't Kill the Rooster"
"Big Boy"
"The Great Leap Forward"
"Smart…more
These stories are in the book but left out of the audiobook:
"Genetic Engineering"
"You Can't Kill the Rooster"
"Big Boy"
"The Great Leap Forward"
"Smart Guy"
"The Late Show"

And these two very short pieces are in the audiobook but left out of the book:
"Poems About Dogs"
"A Million Bubbles"

Personally, I prefer reading the book. I liked the audiobook but am not a fan of the live recordings. (less)
Nick While there is a particular essay that shares the title with book "Me Talk Pretty One Day" later in the book, the theme of voice and identity is…moreWhile there is a particular essay that shares the title with book "Me Talk Pretty One Day" later in the book, the theme of voice and identity is revisited throughout. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  579,793 ratings  ·  16,496 reviews


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Brian
Oct 02, 2007 rated it it was ok
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 poi
...more
Kasia


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.
Tim
Aug 01, 2007 rated it liked it
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 dis
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Me talk Pretty one day, David Sedaris (1956)
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, "Deu
...more
David
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: low-calorie
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 ...more
Jen
Mar 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
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 t
...more
Justin Tate
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 i
...more
Carrie
Apr 29, 2008 rated it did not like it
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 sto
...more
Matthew
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, hoopla, library, audio, 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 eve
...more
Gemma
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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
...more
Michael
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog.

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 r
...more
Fabian
Feb 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Lola
Dec 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir
This was my third time attempting to read this book (unsuccessfully). I simply don’t dig David Sedaris’ humour. Or him in general. Probably the worst memoir I picked up this year.
Bob
Jul 03, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Bob by: Dion Garrett
Shelves: stopped-reading
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.
...more
Calista
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 a
...more
Barbara
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it




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 versi
...more
Glenn Sumi
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
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
...more
Ginger
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, 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
...more
Ms. Smartarse
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 that might have related to this thing... somehow.

Me Talk Pretty One Day is one of those books that sounded suspiciously preachy... based on its title alone. But then I stumbled on a totally hilarious excerpt, which all but ble
...more
Whitney Atkinson
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Erica
Jul 03, 2007 rated it liked it
"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 bl
...more
Esil
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ew
4 high star!

Oh, David Sedaris, I had to force myself not move right on to another of your audiobooks. I listened to Calypso a while ago, and I loved it - funny, smart and real. Me Talk Pretty One Day is an older book, and gives me a glimpse at a younger Sedaris, but the humour and view onto himself, his family and the world are recognizable. There are some great stories about teaching a writing class and learning to speak French that I especially loved. Exercising self restraint will give me a c
...more
Betsy
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I thought Sedaris was funny in writing, but he's even funnier when he's delivering his own material aloud. I could've done without the live recordings of some parts, though. They sounded like the laugh track on a 90s sitcom, and the material can stand just fine on its own.
Jason Koivu
Nov 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, non-fiction, comedy
As the title suggests, much of Me Talk Pretty One Day revolves around speech and speaking:

> Back in school lil' David (I guess he's still kind of little, isn't he) was forced into correcting his sibilant speech by a highly determined therapist. We're led to wonder if she wasn't stamping out boys' lisps through out the North Carolina school with an ulterior motive.
> A move from NY to Paris prompts David to take French lessons in France with hilarious results.

But that's about all there is
...more
Lisa
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Thank you David Sedaris for bringing laughter and fun to my driving, walking and chores this week!
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I've actually expressed my deep, unconditional love for David Sedaris on this site before. With this re-read I realized my love might be a tad unhealthy. You see, last week I was reading this book while a character on a sitcom was reading "When You Are Engulfed In Flames." Rather than being happy that Sedaris was getting quite decent free press, I could only think of the masses of sheer IDIOTS who might venture out to Amazon, purchase something by my true love and then post scathing reviews (wit ...more
Thomas
Mar 31, 2010 rated it liked it
I came into this book expecting the voice of a pretentious, self-indulgent white male, and I finished this book smirking along with this funny, pretentious, and self-indulgent white male. I cannot judge David Sedaris as I do not know his true personality, but he portrays a quirky character in these essays. He reflects on concepts such as speech and family, and several of his pieces draw inspiration from his experience as an American living in France. While some of Sedaris's creative nonfiction - ...more
Shovelmonkey1
Jun 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who talk pretty but think weird
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: people who already know who david sedaris is
Before I picked up this book I knew nothing about David Sedaris. If someone said to me now, "so why should I give a damn about David Sedaris" I probably still wouldn't be able to offer an adequate defence. What does David Sedaris do? Ummmm, I think he writes books about being David Sedaris.

But, to be fair and accurate he writes pretty funny books about being David Sedaris so if you think that comedy trumps vanity then come on in and join the David Sedaris club. On the whole I suspect that David
...more
Paul
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it
What to make of David Sedaris, this is my first venture into this territory. Quite simply this is a collection of essays about Sedaris’s life and times and could be termed observational comedy. The essays are split into two parts, the second focussing on his time living in France with his partner Hugh. The move to France provoked a number of these essays, especially attempts to learn the language.
There is a good deal of focus on Sedaris’s family, especially his father. Sedaris is also adept at
...more
Dana

My first foray into the world of David Sedaris was “Exploring Diabetes with Owls”, which is arguably one of his lowest rated books. I, however enjoyed it, and when I saw a kindle daily deal of all his books I decided to grab a bunch. I figured if I enjoyed his low rated book than subsequently his older books would only get better and better for me.

And it seems like my random haul paid off because I really loved this book. I feel like reading this in public would be a great idea for shy people w
...more
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16,895 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 Fa
...more
“Like all of my friends, she's a lousy judge of character.” 1123 likes
“If you aren't cute, you may as well be clever.” 639 likes
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