I’ve had Me Talk Pretty One Day on my bookshelf for a long time. Like, since a few years after it came out . . . so I’m talking over 10 years. And I haven’t gotten around to reading it until now. Whoops. I’ve skimmed over this book on my shelf so many times, thinking, “Eh, nah. Not in the mood.” I’ve also nearly donated it on several occasions, but always held onto it because of the sheer number of glowing reviews I’ve heard over the years. Honestly, I’ve also kept it partly because I felt bad for the poor book, just sitting there for so long with no love. Don’t ask me to explain the strange inner politics of the book lover, just suffice it to say that I couldn’t get rid of it.
Well, Me Talk Pretty wasn’t quite as revelatory as I expected it to be, but in all fairness, how could it be after 10 years of buildup? The book was, however, still a very good, short read. It is an established fact that David Sedaris is a hilarious man, a practiced self-deprecator, and a great writer – so, in other words, a good comedian. I found the essays in this book to be consistently funny and succinct. BUT, for some reason, more than once I found myself impatiently checking to see how many pages I had left to read. It may have been because I had unreasonably high expectations for just how funny the stories would be (I imagined I would be rolling around on the floor with laughter the whole time), or because I was a little anxious to start a different book. Either way, though the book was entertaining, I found myself totally engaged in some of the stories and speed-reading through others.
However, I did laugh out loud more than once about tiny, ridiculous little things in the book. I don’t often outwardly emote when reading, but some of this stuff struck me in just the right, silly way. A few shining examples are: David whispering “Go on, scoot! Shoo!” to a huge, unflushable turd someone else left in his friend’s toilet, fearing that he’ll be blamed for its existence. His life in a French village as “the guy who says ‘bottleneck’”/”the grown man who . . . frightens the horses with his screaming”. His dad obsessively squirreling away food, specifically a banana so old it looked like a shriveled piece of cat crap. These types of things, which are obviously so much funnier in context, and in his offbeat voice, really got me just right.
All in all, despite a few moments of restlessness while reading, I’m glad I never gave Me Talk Pretty away. I’m glad I finally read it, and glad that I waited 10 years before cracking it open, if only for the outdated technological references.
I am also grateful that, thanks to the Sedaris family, I have a “Fuck-It Bucket” full of candy in my house. Read the book to find out what this magical bucket is – it’ll only take you a day, and you won’t regret it.
Recommended for those who want a short, comical, bizarre, silly, and oddly heartwarming read.