Carrie's Reviews > Me Talk Pretty One Day

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
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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 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.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
April 29, 2008 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I think the title probably came from his French class. Not the bit about his lisp.


message 2: by Paul (new)

Paul Sedaris is best received in occasional short bursts in the New Yorker. He can be, at times, quite funny (usually when being brutually self-deprecating) and he has a talent for throwing off a couple of lines in each story that are, for another writer, frustratingly brilliant and effortless. That said, his shtick is far past its sell-by date, and I could never imagine reading an entire book with him without wanting to fly to France an give him a good and proper cockpunching.

Also, I hold him (and Sarah Vowell) to blame for all of This American Life's worst indulgences, which are only ameliorated by the show's brilliant intermittent political and economic reporting.


Ryan Lawson The title isn't referring to his lisp, it refers to what one of his fellow students said during his French class hence that story within the book being called, "Me Talk Pretty One Day."

Did you even read the entire book?


Carrie Ryan,

It's true--I did not read the entire book. I became exasperated with his personality and couldn't bring myself to finish it. So, I take that particular criticism back.

I do, however, still maintain that he likes to exaggerate his experience of marginalization.


message 5: by Gail (new) - rated it 1 star

Gail I got to p. 144 and decided to stop torturing myself. Sorry. just didn't appeal to me


Paulimeepa "print version of reality TV"...totally agree! well put :)


message 7: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Saige I'm glad David Sedaris has never met you. He would tear your snotty ass to pieces


Jonesmikey The title's a retranslation of his attempts at French. And what are you doing taking shits at your "friends" houses. Do that before you leave your house. He writes about his sister in this book, it's a funny essay about his funny sister.


message 9: by Katie (new) - added it

Katie Martin Well... you do understand that a novel is a work of fiction... and this is a selection of short nonfiction... pieces, right? So saying he is too lazy to write a novel based on this is kind of a strange thing to say.

Also, I don't think you're understanding that David Sedaris's humour comes from his self-deprication and his simple outlook in complex situations. His attempts at French mentioned above are hilarious. Because of how honest he is. He half-asses it because he doesn't know that he'll like it there. He knows the word "bottleneck," so he uses it until he can learn something else. Instead of trying to learn grammar and short sentences, he tries to memorize a list of nouns that he can put together in some screwed up order, hoping desperately that someone will understand him. Because, let's get real. It's incredibly hard for some people to learn a new language. Like near impossible. The humour is in the way he tries to teach himself, and how he understands completely that the way he's teaching himself is useless and bound to make him look like a complete moron.

This is why he's funny. Because he is a moron. But he's an endearing and brilliant moron. Which shouldn't work, but totally does.


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