Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Naked" by David Sedaris

I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this book. I had been curious about books by Sedaris for a while (and I had planned to read several others of his if I liked this one), and it didn't hurt that the New York Times Book Review promised me this one was "sidesplitting." The blurb on the back cover made it sound quirky and irreverent. Well, that description certainly didn't miss the mark. A prime example: In college, Sedaris is "assigned to a dormitory largely reserved for handicapped students" and thus "came to think of Kent State as something of an I.V. League university." If that's not quirky and irreverent, I don't know what is.

This entire book was like a train wreck! I just can't help but think what a marked contrast it is to the syrupy innocence of The Magic Faraway Tree. I am still not sure if I will read any other books by Sedaris. From what I have gathered, all of his books are memoirs or are about himself in some way. I just can't imagine the craziness it must have taken to fill up a half-dozen or so more books. Perhaps I won't take his others off my list, but I might move them to the bottom of it.

I liked the format of the book. It was really more of a collection of essays or vignettes from the author's life, which made it easy to pick up and read one chapter and then put it down and get something done. I assume everything he wrote about was true (as it's described as a memoir), although I was amazed by the number of odd ducks Sedaris has come into contact with. Of course, with matters like his OCD and his lisp combined with the somewhat unconventional parenting during his upbringing, Sedaris himself is far from normal. I just found it hard to believe that so many weird people convened in his life. On the other hand, I'm sure he is prone to exaggeration in his writing (for instance, there's no way he didn't have a bowel movement over his entire 4 weeks at summer camp in Greece).

The book is interesting, to say the least. It's definitely funny, and although I may have never laughed out loud while reading, I'm sure I giggled quietly to myself more than once. Step right up and enjoy the freak show.

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