As a longtime David Sedaris fan, I enjoyed this collection quite a lot, although even I thought it started a bit slowly (and it's clear how much Sedaris honed his craft over the 25-year span represented here). It was particularly fun getting backgrouAs a longtime David Sedaris fan, I enjoyed this collection quite a lot, although even I thought it started a bit slowly (and it's clear how much Sedaris honed his craft over the 25-year span represented here). It was particularly fun getting background and new insight on familiar stories, characters, and his own personality. In the introduction,* Sedaris mentions that it's a book to be dipped into, rather than necessarily read cover-to-cover. I did the latter, and still enjoyed myself greatly.
A few highlights:
"On any given day I am all these things and more: stupid, cheerful, misanthropic, cruel, narrow-minded, open, petty--the list goes on and on." (Introduction)
"Finally he was hit by a train while walking, which is strange because trains don't generally sneak up on people. For the most part, barring a derailment, you know exactly where to find them." (1984)
"He spends a lot of time telling you how smart he is, which is odd because, if you're truly all that bright, people can usually figure it out on their own." (1986)
"Something has changed, and now, when I look at my students, I see only people who are going to eat up my time." (1986)
"Today the teacher called me a sadist. I tried to say that was like the pot calling the kettle black but came out with something closer to 'That is like a pan saying to a dark pan, "You are a pan."'" (1998)
"Last night, shortly after dinner, my father's head caught on fire. He was leaning toward a candle, examining a scratch on the table, and seconds later I noticed the flames, which encircled his scalp like a brilliant crown. He looked like a happy king, content that all was well throughout the land. Just as he realized what was happening, Gretchen bounded over with a cloth napkin. Dad retreated into the bathroom and spent ten minutes examining the damage with a hand mirror. This morning we went to buy him a hat." (1998)
"A year ago I would have begged Hugh to accompany me to the hardware store, but now I go on my own. On the first of yesterday's two trips I said to the clerk, in French, 'Hello. Sometimes my clothes are wrinkled. I bought a machine antiwrinkle, and now I search a table. Have you such a table?' The fellow said, 'An ironing board?' 'Exactly!'" (1999)
* Which, in this case, I did actually find it appropriate to read first. I guess I'm more likely to trust author-authored introductions.
Reading Challenge Tags: #1, more than 500 pages [it didn't feel like it]; #4, published this year; #8, funny; #14, nonfiction; #38, made me cry...more