Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this as part of the Ultimate David Sedaris Audio Collection. It was abridged, and a glance over the story listings shows me I've missed more than my last abridged Sedaris book, and that they were out of order. Ah, well. I'll just have to pick it up for a reread sometime.

I found the theme tighter in this than in Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. While the idea of language, communication, and the power teachers hold over their students isn't immediately apparent in all of the stories, it's a much stronger thread, and Sedaris seems to have a lot more to say about it. His speech therapist and French teacher take similar glee in how much more they know than he does, and they relish opportunities to show him up. Or, maybe it's just the way he sees it. He describes himself as "the village idiot" in France, and his English translations of his French vocabulary is certainly entertaining.

The most memorable story in this collection, for me, was "Picka Pocketoni," where Sedaris is mistaken by American tourists for a French pickpocket. The conversation he overhears by this couple who assumes he can't understand a word they're saying is amusing, as is his plan for revenge and his flattery at being thought quick-fingered enough to steal for a living. "The City of Light in the Dark" was also interesting for an entirely different reason. He contrasts the moviegoing experience in New York City and in Paris, France, where revivals of old movies are common and the theater is typically silent, with few concessions. While I fear for the day his prediction about moviegoers enjoying steak may come true, I also miss the Cinebarre, where one can be served whole meals seated at a film. I can completely understand taking people to see a movie during their fancy European vacation, though.

Overall, I felt like I got a better feel for Sedaris with this book than with the last one I read, and I think I probably would've liked the previous one better if I'd read this, first. I don't think it will be any chore to go back and reread, though.

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