Monday, July 8, 2013

#38 (2013/CBR5) "Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls, Essays, Etc." by David Sedaris

I've read most of David Sedaris's books and enjoyed them, so it was a no-brainer to pick up his latest, Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls, Essays, Etc. (2013) as soon as I could get my hands on it. The "etc." part of the title consists of six, short fictional stories. But for the most part, this book is very similar to his previous ones, with original and humorous stories about his life. If you liked his previous books, you should like this one as well.

It's been awhile since I last read Sedaris, so I'm not sure if it's just this book, but I seem to be able to appreciate his writing more now. I especially noticed his descriptions and unique ways of coming at his stories. Sedaris doesn't start an essay about his first colonoscopy with arriving at the doctor's office. Instead it begins at a dinner party in Amsterdam, and then jumps to a discussion of his relationship with his father before he finally settles in to his topic. This somewhat meandering style is very entertaining and still easy to follow. Most of the stories in this book stem from Sedaris's talent in finding the absurd humor in our everyday lives, much of it self-deprecating and refreshingly honest--although (I've heard) perhaps exaggerated.

Sedaris describes in one essay how he could never get his father's approval. It was heart wrenching, insightful, and funny all at once. "Greg Sakas would have got the same treatment eventually, as would any of the other would-be sons my father pitted against me throughout my adolescence. Once they got used to the sweet taste of his approval, he'd have no choice but to snatch it away, not because of anything they did but because it is in his nature. The guy sees a spark and just can't help but stomp it out." I think I saw something of my own father in this story, although not to such an extent, but it felt disturbingly familiar.

Some other lines that struck me while reading include: "Johnny didn't strike me as gay, but it was hard to tell with alcoholics. Like prisoners and shepherds, many of them didn't care who they had sex with..." and "Even dressed up, the girl would have looked like a poor person, not a sassy, defiant one but the kind who had quit struggling and accepted poverty as her lot in life."

The six fictional essays weren't my favorite part of the book. I much preferred to read about Sedaris's life, and I was always a little disappointed when I came upon the next one while reading. However, they were short, original, and still funny. I'd definitely recommend this book, I think almost anyone would enjoy it--except maybe some of the macho conservatives I work with right now--they might be offended.

1 comment:

Cleo Rogers said...

David Sedaris Writes the Only Non-Fiction Books I Read. I Discovered the Writings of Mr. Sedaris over Twenty Years ago and Have Read Every Single Book He has Written. His Books are Engaging, Funny, Colorful and True to Life.
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