Book Review: "Me Talk Pretty One Day" by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One DayDavid Sedaris is one of those enigmatic people who I don’t know how to describe in one word. He isn’t an actor or exactly a comedian, although he does tour and have humorous discussions. Amy Sedaris, former main stage Second City actor, is his sister, and David frequently contributes to The New Yorker and speaks on NPR. He also lives part time in France. Again, I am at a loss as to what one, neat, simple word to wrap him up into, so naturally, I turn to Google and just below his name is the word “humorist.” That’s what we’ll call him. With all those feathers in his cap, humorist David Sedaris couldn’t just stop there. He’s also New York Times bestselling author of Me Talk Pretty One Day (also see Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls, Naked, Holidays on Ice). I don’t want to go so far as to say that I would have never found out who David Sedaris is or what he writes if it wasn’t for an Internet list some person compiled on some blog post titled something like “Books Everyone In Their Twenties Should Read,” but that is the first place I came across the name David Sedaris. I have only read Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000) from said list, and I am perfectly satisfied with that.

If you looked for Me Talk Pretty One Day in a bookstore, it would be in the essays section. The first half of the book is a compilation of snippets of his life ranging from speech therapy to the odd jobs he’s worked. “Part Deux” is, appropriately, about the first trips he spent in France with his partner, Hugh. This includes a disappointing IQ test and intimidating French lessons.

David Sedaris writes with surprising wit. A sentence will be going one way, and then he’ll pull out something unexpected and hilarious: “At the end of a miserable day, instead of grieving my virtual nothing, I can always look at my loaded wastepaper basket and tell myself that if I failed, at least I took a few trees down with me.” Moments like this were my favorite parts of the book, and there are plenty of them. Most of the stories in Me Talk Pretty One Day are normal stories told in hilarious ways, but there are others that are just funny situations themselves. The chapter, “The Great Leap Forward,” includes an eccentric boss and trying to convince her that a pigeon is not, in fact, an exotic bird on furlough from its cage.

I loved this book because of the inexhaustible wit and the relatable stories. As someone who has to work multiple jobs to get by, every job he talked about resonated with me. Anyone who enjoys listening to friends’ stories would like Me Talk Pretty One Day, because it is almost like you’re sitting and listening to David Sedaris tell you these stories rather than reading them, which is pretty cool.

Leslie Michaels is currently a Level 2 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She spends her spare time riding her bicycle, playing Ultimate Frisbee, or hanging out with her boyfriend, Netflix. She still questions whether she’s a dog person or a cat person.