9780316776967

Me Talk Pretty One Day

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780316776967

  • ISBN10:

    0316776963

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 6/5/2001
  • Publisher: INGRAM

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Summary

David Sedaris became a star autobiographer on public radio, onstage in New York, and on bestseller lists, mostly on the strength of "SantaLand Diaries," a scathing, hilarious account of his stint as a Christmas elf at Macy's. (It's in two separate collections, both worth owning, Barrel Fever and the Christmas-themed Holidays on Ice.) Sedaris's caustic gift has not deserted him in his fourth book, which mines poignant comedy from his peculiar childhood in North Carolina, his bizarre career path, and his move with his lover to France. Though his anarchic inclination to digress is his glory, Sedaris does have a theme in these reminiscences: the inability of humans to communicate. The title is his rendition in transliterated English of how he and his fellow students of French in Paris mangle the Gallic language. In the essay "Jesus Shaves," he and his classmates from many nations try to convey the concept of Easter to a Moroccan Muslim. "It is a party for the little boy of God," says one. "Then he be die one day on two... morsels of... lumber," says another. Sedaris muses on the disputes between his Protestant mother and his father, a Greek Orthodox guy whose Easter fell on a different day. Other essays explicate his deep kinship with his eccentric mom and absurd alienation from his IBM-exec dad: "To me, the greatest mystery of science continues to be that a man could father six children who shared absolutely none of his interests." Every glimpse we get of Sedaris's family and acquaintances delivers laughs and insights. He thwarts his North Carolina speech therapist ("for whom the word pen had two syllables") by cleverly avoiding all words with s sounds, which reveal the lisp she sought to correct. His midget guitar teacher, Mister Mancini, is unaware that Sedaris doesn't share his obsession with breasts, and sings "Light My Fire" all wrong--"as if he were a Webelo scout demanding a match." As a remarkably unqualified teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago, Sedaris had his class watch soap operas and assign "guessays" on what would happen in the next day's episode. It all adds up to the most distinctively skewed autobiography since Spalding Gray's Swimming to Cambodia. The only possible reason not to read this book is if you'd rather hear the author's intrinsically funny speaking voice narrating his story. In that case, get Me Talk Pretty One Day on audio. --Tim Appelo

Author Biography

David Sedaris is is a regular contributor to Public Radio International's "This American Life"

Table of Contents

One
Go Carolina
3(13)
Giant Dreams, Midget Abilities
16(16)
Genetic Engineering
32(7)
Twelve Moments in the Life of the Artist
39(21)
You Can't Kill the Rooster
60(9)
The Youth in Asia
69(14)
The Learning Curve
83(14)
Big Boy
97(3)
The Great Leap Forward
100(20)
Today's Special
120(5)
City of Angels
125(7)
A Shiner Like a Diamond
132(10)
Nutcracker.com
142(11)
Deux
See You Again Yesterday
153(13)
Me Talk Pretty One Day
166(8)
Jesus Shaves
174(7)
The Tapeworm Is In
181(6)
Make That a Double
187(5)
Remembering My Childhood on the Continent of Africa
192(9)
21 Down
201(4)
The City of Light in the Dark
205(6)
I Pledge Allegiance to the Bag
211(8)
Picka Pocketoni
219(9)
I Almost Saw This Girl Get Killed
228(11)
Smart Guy
239(9)
The Late Show
248(17)
I'll Eat What He's Wearing
265

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