Book Review: Me Talk Pretty One Day

‘Like all of my friends, she’s a lousy judge of character…’

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris — LIZ HEATHER

As with most things in my life, I hadn’t heard of David Sedaris until he popped up as a guest on the Adam Buxton podcast. You know that Sedaris is proper because he is referred to as a humorist rather than a comedy writer. That’s when you know you’ve made it. That means that clever people feel comfortable laughing at your jokes.

Snobbery aside, I enjoyed Sedaris’ ramble chat with Dr Buckles enough to want to find out more. Me Talk Pretty One Day is a collection of autobiographical essays that spill over into short story territory from time to time. Sedaris is just as sharp and self deprecating on the page as in real life, and his frankness about drug addiction and sexuality ensures that this collection is more than just a laugh. There is real substance here too. And lots of substances. This guy loved crystal meth.

I am out of my comfort zone with this one. Bill Bryson makes me feel dumb when I read his stuff and Sedaris makes me full dumb and also irrelevant. His life has been so full and so chaotic that it makes everyone else appear to be simply existing rather than living. As a man who often shares a beer with Father Time, and also plays poker with Death himself, my only option is to live vicariously through others these days, such is my old age. The authenticity of David Sedaris and his world is inspiring and frightening. I am simultaneously viciously jealous and utterly aghast at the life described in these pages.

Anyway, enough of the hyperbole. If you like Bill Bryson (and anyone that doesn’t like Bryson has got no place at my table) then Sedaris is the logical next step. He’s earnt the right to be called a humorist. It’s like the knighthood of comedy.

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