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Summary and book reviews of Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day

by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris X
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
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  • First Published:
    May 2000, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2001, 224 pages

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Book Summary

Tells a most unconventional life story. "Original, acid, and wild" --said the Los Angeles Times. Written as 17 autobiographical essays.

"As far as I was concerned, the French could be cold or even openly hostile. They could burn my flag or pelt me with stones, but if there were taxidermied kittens to be had then I would go and bring them back to this, the greatest country on earth."

David Sedaris's new collection, Me Talk Pretty One Day, tells a most unconventional life story. It begins with a North Carolina childhood filled with speech-therapy classes ("There was the lisp, of course, but more troubling than that was my voice itself with its excitable tone and high, girlish pitch") and unwanted guitar lessons taught by a midget. From budding performance artist ("The only crimp in my plan was that I seemed to have no talent whatsoever") to "clearly unqualified" writing teacher in Chicago, Sedaris's career leads him to New York (the sky's-the-limit field of furniture moving) and eventually, of all places, France.

Sedaris's move to Paris poses a number of challenges, chief among them his inability to speak the language. Arriving a "spooky man-child" capable of communicating only through nouns, he undertakes language instruction that leads him ever deeper into cultural confusion. Whether describing the Easter bunny to puzzled classmates, savoring movies in translation (It Is Necessary to Save the Soldier Ryan), or watching a group of men play soccer with a cow, Sedaris brings a view and a voice like none other. "Original, acid, and wild" --said the Los Angeles Times to every unforgettable encounter.

Chapter One
Go Carolina

ANYONE WHO WATCHES EVEN THE SLIGHTEST amount of TV is familiar with the scene: An agent knocks on the door of some seemingly ordinary home or office. The door opens, and the person holding the knob is asked to identify himself. The agent then says, "I'm going to ask you to come with me."

They're always remarkably calm, these agents. If asked "Why do I need to go anywhere with you?" they'll straighten their shirt cuffs or idly brush stray hairs from the sleeves of their sport coats and say, "Oh, I think we both know why."

The suspect then chooses between doing things the hard way and doing things the easy way, and the scene ends with either gunfire or the gentlemanly application of handcuffs. Occasionally it's a case of mistaken identity, but most often the suspect knows exactly why he's being taken. It seems he's been expecting this to happen. The anticipation has ruled his life, and now, finally, the wait is over. You're sometimes led to believe ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
The sort of blithely sophisticated, loopy humor that might have resulted if Dorothy Parker and James Thurber had a love child.

New York Newsday
Skilled...dramatic...highly ingenious.

Washington Post Book World - Francine Prose
Shrewd, wickedly funny.... These hilarious, lively, and breathtakingly irreverent stories.... made me laugh out loud more often than anything I've read in years.

The New Yorker
Compared to Twain and Hawthorne, David Sedaris has become one of the best-loved humorists of our time, writing with perfect pitch about the ludicrousness of our age. Featuring some pieces abut his sojourn in Paris that have been published and many that have been featured in The New Yorker, Esquire, and on NPR, this is a hilarious collection that shouldn't be missed.

New York Times Book Review - Craig Seligman
Not one of the seventeen autobiographical essays in this new collection failed to make me crack up; frequently I was helpless.... Even the bleakest of them contain stuff you shouldn't read with your mouth full.

Portland Oregonian - John Foyston
One of the most sustained bursts of humor in recent memory.... Sedaris manages to make something bigger and more enduring out of his humor, in much the manner Mark Twain used humor as a lens through which to examine humanity.

Reader Reviews

Haley Jane

Oh yeah five star
I think the book lets out so much detail and I really think this is a book that let's out so much feeling and I bet it took all of the author's sweat and tears to write this amazing book.

Cloggie Downunder

you may need continence pads with this
Me Talk Pretty One Day is the 6th book of collected essays by David Sedaris. In part one, Sedaris touches on speech therapy for his lisp at school, guitar lessons from a midget, inherited traits, artistic talent, sibling swearing, family pets, ...   Read More

Debbs

me talk pretty one day
When I started reading the book I enjoyed it because it was funny. However, I did not find it a significant book because some of the the content did not make much sense to me. But like others I had to read it for class. This I did diligently until I ...   Read More

Maggie

The Great English Book I Have Ever Read
This is one of novels I have to read in this summer for my class. I do not know whether I like it. Once I begin to work on it, I touch Sandiers' heart. He tells me the things he has ever expereinced and his feelings. Laughing out for a while, I ...   Read More

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