Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day

David Sedaris' move to Paris from New York inspired these hilarious pieces, including the title essay, about his attempts to learn French from a sadistic teacher who declares that every day spent with you is like having a caesarean section. His family is another inspiration. You Can't Kill the Rooster is a portrait of his brother, who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his b...

Title:Me Talk Pretty One Day
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0349113912
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:272 pages

Me Talk Pretty One Day Reviews

  • Tim
    Aug 01, 2007

    Witty, wry, bitter, delightful.

    My mom gave me the book. I was living in France at the time, so she thought David Sedaris and I would have a ton in common. She went to a Sedaris booksigning to get a personalized message to her gay son in France. After he was done reading, she jumped up to get him to write a note to me, "David! My son is gay! He's living in France right now, please sign this copy for him!" He had already started an orderly signing process, going down the rows. He looked at her dis

    Witty, wry, bitter, delightful.

    My mom gave me the book. I was living in France at the time, so she thought David Sedaris and I would have a ton in common. She went to a Sedaris booksigning to get a personalized message to her gay son in France. After he was done reading, she jumped up to get him to write a note to me, "David! My son is gay! He's living in France right now, please sign this copy for him!" He had already started an orderly signing process, going down the rows. He looked at her disgustedly and intoned, "I'll get to you." He then skipped her row and did all the others first, making everyone in her row hate her (imagine the wrath of a row of David Sedaris fans - ouch). When he finally got to her - last - he said, "name?" and she started her story about me: "Tim. He's 17 and he's gay and he's been living in France this year, so if you could put something about France -" He handed her book back, not having heard anything past my name, instead writing some witty thing with bad grammar that played off the book's title. When I returned from France, my mother gave me the book but had lost all respect for the author. "It's a good book but he was a complete asshole," she said.

    My mother's experience aside, I'm sure Sedaris is not actually a soulless, cruel person. If you want a light read by a smart, gay cynic, this is a great book.

  • Brian
    Oct 02, 2007

    I just don't care for David Sedaris.

    There, I've said it. I've made peace with the fact. I have stared deep into the cockles of my heart, and forced myself to come to the only obvious-but-unpopular conclusion.

    I just don't care for David Sedaris.

    It was somewhat of an existential struggle for me to reach this conclusion because

    .

    I am a sarcastic Generation Xer with an overdeveloped sense of irony. I enjoy reading personal essays about poi

    I just don't care for David Sedaris.

    There, I've said it. I've made peace with the fact. I have stared deep into the cockles of my heart, and forced myself to come to the only obvious-but-unpopular conclusion.

    I just don't care for David Sedaris.

    It was somewhat of an existential struggle for me to reach this conclusion because

    .

    I am a sarcastic Generation Xer with an overdeveloped sense of irony. I enjoy reading personal essays about poignant and humiliating events in people's personal lives. Understated comedy is favorite genre. I look at myself in the mirror and practice being droll. Hell, I even like listening to

    on NPR. I am exactly the target demographic for the witty, petty misanthropy with which Mr. Sedaris plies his trade.

    But, I just don't care for David Sedaris.

    I find him to be thoroughly unlikable. He comes across as the type of person who might be fun to have a beer with, but, afterwards, he'd probably make fun of you behind your back. When I was reading this book, I thought that his stories and characters were a little too colorful and a little too perfect to be true. And, as he tells the stories of his childhood, he comes across as a 40 year-old gay man trapped in an eight year-old's body (wow, that sentence doesn't sound right!). After I finished the book, I found that Mr. Sedaris does, indeed, subscribe to a rather fluid definition of "truth"--some of the instances were exaggerated. And, by "exaggerated', I mean "completely made up".

    But these revelations have done little to stem the tide of bare-knuckled enthusiasm of his legion of fans. I am confronted by people who are adamant that, despite my protests to the contrary, I really do like David Sedaris. It seems that Mr. Sedaris' work has become a litmus test for a certain level of sophistication. If you tell people that you just don't care for David Sedaris, they look at you like you've got a mullet tucked into the collar of your shirt, a six pack of Old Milwaukee in the fridge, and a Tivo filled up with NASCAR races.

    Well, I for one refuse to be pigeon-holed. And, today, I am calling on all like-minded people to join me! And, together, we can...uh not like Sedaris.

    Say it with me! We're loud, we're proud...

    ...and we just don't care for David Sedaris!

  • Gemma
    Feb 13, 2008

    This book has been my tube companion for the past fortnight. It is the perfect accompaniment to the London commute for two reasons:

    1) The essays are perfectly formed, so you can be assured that you'll be able to finish 3 little chunks over 40 minutes or so. Once the train trundled into Westminster station I would know to quicken my pace so as to finish another section before alighting at Blackfriars and elbowing some bankers.

    2) My tube line is the epitome of the British stiff upper lip. People's

    This book has been my tube companion for the past fortnight. It is the perfect accompaniment to the London commute for two reasons:

    1) The essays are perfectly formed, so you can be assured that you'll be able to finish 3 little chunks over 40 minutes or so. Once the train trundled into Westminster station I would know to quicken my pace so as to finish another section before alighting at Blackfriars and elbowing some bankers.

    2) My tube line is the epitome of the British stiff upper lip. People's faces remain practically emotionless from Putney to Barking to Richmond and up to High Street Kensington. Of course, scrum tackles take place at each station as people push on during rush hour. But NO emotions pass across the face of a commuter. Apart from perhaps a slight grimace when the new arrival feels it necessary to share all the details of their skiing holiday with the entire carriage.

    Anyway - to the point! With Sedaris in my hand I have been snorting, honking and smiling as never before seen on the District Line. The 50 something lady who settled into her seat at Wimbledon with the Daily Telegraph looks up nervously. The banker ignoring the opinion section of the FT for the

    more fascinating Stocks and shares pages shifts nervously. And then I snort once more. Being in such a cheery mood, once a seat becomes available I offer it to the young lady in slightly uncomfortable looking high heels reading the bible (aka the Metro) thus leaving the assembled masses concerned that I may be clinically insane and yet on their train.

  • Carrie
    Apr 29, 2008

    If I were in someone else's bathroom and there were no other reading materials except for something by David Sedaris, I would pick it up and flip through it. I probably would even find myself slightly amused. But my basic opinion about David Sedaris - which is that he is boring, not very funny, mean and bitchy, and too lazy to write a novel - would remain unchanged.

    Remember when people who had fucked up or interesting lives drew on their personal experiences to create artful, often symbolic sto

    If I were in someone else's bathroom and there were no other reading materials except for something by David Sedaris, I would pick it up and flip through it. I probably would even find myself slightly amused. But my basic opinion about David Sedaris - which is that he is boring, not very funny, mean and bitchy, and too lazy to write a novel - would remain unchanged.

    Remember when people who had fucked up or interesting lives drew on their personal experiences to create artful, often symbolic stories that speak to some kind of greater human existence? Remember when people basically only wrote their autobiography after they had accomplished many other notable things in their life? At the very least, one would use the events of their life to address some important social issue.

    Among others, we have David Sedaris to thank for ushering in the age of this crappy, voyeristic autobiography sub-genre that is basically the print version of reality tv. So somebody has a weird, dysfunctional family. So do most of us. It's really not that interesting.

    The title of the book is pretty lame. Did you really talk like that, David? No, I don't think you did. I think you were just a middle-class gay kid who lisped, got sent to speech therapy for it, and then wanted to pretend that you were more marginalized than you actually were.

    Also, his sister is way funnier than he is.

  • Kasia
    Nov 24, 2008

    That about sums it up.

    Because, what's the point to these anecdotes? Are you trying to tell me something Mr. Sedaris? I think not. You think you're funny? Meh, not that funny. Special? You're not that special either. You're a writer, just another writer. What's the big deal?

    As I said, I don't care much for your little stories.

  • David
    Aug 16, 2010

    I've been thinking a lot about this, and I have come to the conclusion that David Sedaris is one of the worst human beings in history, i.e., since human beings were first invented by an incompetent, Jerry Lewis-like god or by the inscrutable permutations of natural phenomena. This isn't a moral judgment. It's more like when someone tells you that you have spinach stuck in your teeth. It's both the mere reportage of a fact and a public service. Because, after all, you wouldn't want to walk around

    I've been thinking a lot about this, and I have come to the conclusion that David Sedaris is one of the worst human beings in history, i.e., since human beings were first invented by an incompetent, Jerry Lewis-like god or by the inscrutable permutations of natural phenomena. This isn't a moral judgment. It's more like when someone tells you that you have spinach stuck in your teeth. It's both the mere reportage of a fact and a public service. Because, after all, you wouldn't want to walk around all day with spinach in your teeth, and you wouldn't want to spend your life mistakenly thinking that David Sedaris wasn't evil and unfunny.

    Maybe I hate David Sedaris so much (abstractly; not with the visceral hatred I have for Mariah Carey) because I imagine all of these young straight couples in J. Crew worsted wool sweaters throwing back their heads like Mrs. Howell, laughing at his weak but fashionable humor. Maybe they're in their Toyota Highlanders driving out to Restoration Hardware to look at the brushed steel knobs and the faux-Victorian gewgaws. Have you been to Oak Brook? They probably live there and have heated floor tiles and towel warmers in their bathroom. The women all look like cut-rate Carolyn Bessette-Kennedys (before the plane crash), and the men look like the guy getting married in

    .

    David Sedaris is an entry-level gay for these people, right? They're all liberal, sure, but out in Oak Brook their gay contacts are limited to the service industry. The housewares clerk at Lord & Taylor, the hairdresser, or that one swishy waiter at Maggiano's who's stingy with the bread basket. You know, the usual A-Team of tanned men with shaved forearms and hyperreal hairdos.

    What I am saying is that David Sedaris is a nice accessory. Sure, your grandparents might find some of his humor off-color or distasteful, but in the age of Sarah Silverman he's almost quaint. Anal sex (and its intimations) take on a Bombeckian glow in his hands. And that kerrunk, kerrunk sound you hear is Jean Genet rolling over in his grave (and masturbating on a pile of his own feces).

    There are currently twenty-one people on my friends list who have rated this book. Only two have assigned it fewer than three stars. Defend yourselves, bourgeois scum. I mean that affectionately. You probably thought Bob Saget was funny on

    too, didn't you?

  • Jen
    Mar 28, 2017

    Sedaris is a quirky kind of writer. I needed a palate cleanser after the last few heavy reads and this one delivered. From a betrayal of the tongue (which required speech therapy), to a midget music teacher and some various comical moments in his life, his memoir had me chuckling out loud and talking about it to whomever was in the room.

    But alas, a third of the way in, it read like a rant and I quickly became bored. What began as a breath of fresh air became stale but did give a final gasp at t

    Sedaris is a quirky kind of writer. I needed a palate cleanser after the last few heavy reads and this one delivered. From a betrayal of the tongue (which required speech therapy), to a midget music teacher and some various comical moments in his life, his memoir had me chuckling out loud and talking about it to whomever was in the room.

    But alas, a third of the way in, it read like a rant and I quickly became bored. What began as a breath of fresh air became stale but did give a final gasp at the end.

    First two thirds razor sharp; last 3rd, kind of dull. For that I'm rating this 3.5***

  • Matthew
    Feb 07, 2017

    Another collection of Sedaris tales as we have come to know and love. His cynical banter and humorous anecdotes shine again. While some might say the same old formula gets old, with Sedaris it is expected and greatly appreciated. (I even heard he changed the formula in a recent book and it was not well received)

    I listened to the audio and love hearing the words from the mouth of the author. His delivery and timing are perfect - which I suppose is to be expected as they are his words, but not eve

    Another collection of Sedaris tales as we have come to know and love. His cynical banter and humorous anecdotes shine again. While some might say the same old formula gets old, with Sedaris it is expected and greatly appreciated. (I even heard he changed the formula in a recent book and it was not well received)

    I listened to the audio and love hearing the words from the mouth of the author. His delivery and timing are perfect - which I suppose is to be expected as they are his words, but not every author can read their words as well as they write. It is great how he can make every mundane activity an entertaining anecdote.

    If you like a little humorous getaway, check out this and other Sedaris books.


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