Ms. Smartarse's Reviews > Me Talk Pretty One Day

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
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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 blew my mind. Finally someone with the same questionable humor 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 just plain put me to sleep; which once again proves that no matter how humorously you paint your life, I just can't seem to muster up enough interest in it.

Jazz is one of those things that I just can'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 or any other predictability.

Having had most of my artistic tendencies replaced with science-y pursuits early on, I can't say I relish the prospect to 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 dismally. Heck, I could feel my stress levels rising just reading about the author's irresponsible drug use.

scared

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 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?”


TO DO: 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'm inspired enough to flip to the right page.

Thank GoodReads for quotes, because I'm 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...
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Reading Progress

January 14, 2018 – Shelved
April 7, 2018 – Started Reading
April 7, 2018 –
page 14
5.15% "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.""
April 8, 2018 –
page 41
15.07% "To this day, I prefer to believe that inside every television there lives a community of versatile, thumb-size actors, trained to portray everything from a thoughtful newscaster to the wife of a millionaire stranded on a desert island. Fickle gnomes control the weather, and an air conditioner is powered by a team of squirrels, their cheeks packed with ice cubes."
April 9, 2018 –
page 65
23.9% "I still do a lot of selfish and terrible things. I do not, however, treat myself to hot-cocoa enemas before an audience of invited guests. Minor as it seems, this has become something to celebrate.

speechless

Hm... I wonder if I can include this in random conversations."
April 9, 2018 –
page 117
43.01% "In an effort to impress his latest parole officer, Richie was trying to improve his vocabulary. "I can't promise I'll never kill anyone again," he once said. "It's unrealistic to live your life within such strict parameters."

makes sense"
April 9, 2018 –
page 160
58.82% ""New York City!" the shopkeepers [in France] said. "Well, you're far from home, aren't you?" They said this as if I'd left Manhattan for a short walk and lost track of the time.

Mr. Bean drops a shell"
April 9, 2018 –
page 163
59.93% "My month of hard work was rewarded with four days in Paris, a city where, without even trying, one can find a two-hundred-year-old wax model of a vagina complete with human pubic hair.

mr bean confused

Damn it! I knew I've stayed in the wrong arondisement!"
April 9, 2018 –
page 188
69.12% "On learning French from "Pocket Medical French" audio cassettes:
With practice I will eventually reach my goal [of speaking French fluently]; in the meantime, come to Paris and you will find me, headphones plugged tight in my external audio meatus, walking quays and whispering, "Has anything else been inserted into your anus? Has anything else been inserted into your anus?""
April 11, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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Roxana Chirilă "Heck, I could feel my stress levels rising just reading about the author's irresponsible drug use."

Holy crap, I think I deleted those out of my memory, because it's only now that you mention the drug use that I remember it and feel stressed again.


Ms. Smartarse I seem to recall your review mentioning that you didn't like his drug-use too. Still, maybe the rest of the book weighed much more in your mind, while my latest memory is related to how crappy I found the audiobook.


Roxana Chirilă Yeah, it probably bothered me at the time, but my memory can be a bit selective at times.

I haven't heard the audiobook for it - and from what you're saying, it's for the best.


Ms. Smartarse You can listen to an excerpt here on GR, to get an idea.
I found the author's voice too monotonous, and would frequently tune it out. Plus, I didn't much like his voice either... as mean as that may sound. :(


message 5: by carol. (new)

carol. Ms. Smartarse wrote: "You can listen to an excerpt here on GR, to get an idea.
I found the author's voice too monotonous, and would frequently tune it out. Plus, I didn't much like his voice either... as mean as that ma..."


I think I tried the audio of this and had a similar experience in terms of getting sleepy and diminishing returns the longer I listened...


Ms. Smartarse The whole reading tone sounded so monotonous, like the author himself was bored with the whole thing...


message 7: by carol. (new)

carol. Honestly, I've tried Sedaris twice and the payoff to time invested ratio was too small.
Have you tried Jenny Lawson? I enjoyed her reading of her first book. Her stuff centers a bit more on mental illness, and in Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir, her crazy hickish upbringing. http://thebloggess.com/


Ms. Smartarse Yes, I read it a few years ago. I liked it more than this one, it had plenty of funny parts, and even found memorable line about friendship.

But... I'm not keen on autobiographies, so in the end it became rather predictable.


Tara Sorry to hear this was such an uneven experience for you, Vera. I liked this book for the most part, but have found a couple of his other books highly uneven in the past myself.

In looking at your comments, I was reminded that I’ve not yet explored any Jenny Lawson. After hearing that you liked her a little more, I’ll have to do so :)


message 10: by Ms. Smartarse (last edited Apr 15, 2018 10:04AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ms. Smartarse Tara wrote: "Sorry to hear this was such an uneven experience for you, Vera."

Ah, well, I don't generally "get along" well with (auto)biographies. I just get bored of them after a while. The one exception (so far) was Born a Crime.

Heh, as for Jenny Lawson's book, I actually bought it, because I liked the cover, and the backstory to go with it was even funnier.


message 11: by Tara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tara Ms. Smartarse wrote: "Tara wrote: "Sorry to hear this was such an uneven experience for you, Vera."

Ah, well, I don't generally "get along" well with (auto)biographies. I just get bored of them after a while. The one e..."


Aha, and here I tend to love humorous autobiographies. The cover to the Lawson book is pretty cute, so I’m looking forward to this funny backstory you speak so highly of...the pressure’s on :p


message 12: by Ms. Smartarse (last edited Apr 04, 2019 08:39PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ms. Smartarse Tara wrote: "...the pressure’s on :p "

You know? The last time I tried to recommend a book so insistently (this one, incidentally), I started losing interest in it myself. So I'm not saying anything else.


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