Thursday, July 18, 2013

Naked by David Sedaris

This is the last David Sedaris book I have in my hoarded collection. That means I've read:

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Me Talk Pretty One Day
The Santaland Diaries
When You Are Engulfed in Flames


And I loved them all, with the exception of The Santaland Diaries. I have heard nothing but good things about Naked, so I have literally saved it until I absolutely could save it no longer. It was a book group pick, so I took the plunge and read it. Finally. 

And it was kind of meh! What the hell? I don't know. I'm still baffled by it. There were moments of pure joyful snort-laughing, but there were also moments of, meh. 

Let's start with the really good stuff, though. I was bowled over laughing at the title essay, "Naked," about Sedaris's time spent in a nudist colony. He moves from morbidly embarrassed in the beginning of the essay to free-flowing, carrying his own towel around, ruminating on strangers' privates. In short, it's laugh-out-loud funny. Classic Sedaris. 

Truthfully, I had a horrible headache and some wicked vertigo while I was trying to read the middle portion
of this collection, and I really wonder if that killed my experience reading this one. I kept thinking back to my visceral, snort-laced reaction to Me Talk Pretty and Corduroy and Denim and wondering why the magic wasn't happening. 

On the less successful end of the spectrum, I found one particular essay (title slips my mind) about his mother's demise from cancer far less appealing. His "take" on it was that his family tried to largely ignore the problem, not talk about it. And when the kids did express or verbalize their love or otherwise make gestures that they wouldn't normally, their mom would blow it off. If you've read much of Sedaris's work, this is par for the course for the family matriarch, but this essay was still a miss for me. It just seemed to swirl around and not go anywhere, and it eventually petered out. 

Unfortunately, this one won't go down in reading history as my favorite David Sedaris book. That title still belongs to Me Talk Pretty One Day

Pub. Date: June 1998
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780316777735
Source: Bought it for myself a gazillion years ago

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BookTube-a-Thon Update 3!





20 comments:

  1. Me Talk Pretty is totally my favorite, too, and I could listen to him talk on This American Life forever. I haven't read this one, but I've heard similar things from friends who have.

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  2. I need to pick up a copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day. I started listening to it (years ago!) while on a road trip with my hubby, but he doesn't really enjoy audio books, so I turned it off and never got back to it. Wound up returning it to the library "unread." Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls sure has been selling well, too. Might have to take a glance at that one today at work.

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    1. Me Talk Pretty One Day is so hard to beat, but I have loved Corduroy and Denim, and I have Diabetes with Owls on my Nook waiting for me. Good stuff, Les. Just avoid The Santaland Diaries.

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  3. No, you still have one, Let's Talk Diabetes with Owls, the new one.

    Me Talk Pretty One Day was all kinds of awesome. I think I'll do Denim next. Sorry this one didn't cut it with you! Hope it was a timing thing.

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    1. I do! I have it on my Nook, too!

      Denim is amazeballs. You'll laugh your toes loose.

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  4. I know from personal experience that vertigo can kill your enjoyment of a book. I'm sorry you're suffering from it!

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    1. It's much better now, but wow, it sucked for a while!

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  5. Me Talk Pretty One Day still reigns supreme in my eyes, too!

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  6. It's too bad this one fell short of the other Sedarises (Sedari?) It also means I'll make sure to check out Corduroy & Flames and maybe put this one waaay at the bottom of the pile. (But still in the pile...)

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    1. Definitely still in the pile. The only one not pile-worthy at all is The Santaland Diaries.

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  7. I've read all of Sedaris except his very latest (Owl) and my favorite is Me Talk Pretty too. This one was still funny, but definitely not my favorite.

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    1. I know the last one I read, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, seemed more focused on mortality. And rightfully so, as he's getting older (aren't we all?). I kind of expect the same from Owls, but we'll see.

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  8. Interesting review. I really liked this book but it was my first and only Sedaris so far. Sounds like I'll need to pick up some of his others!

    -Rebecca @ Love at First Book

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    1. Definitely try some others.

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  9. This is the only Sedaris I've read, and I was kinda lukewarm about it. I guess it's good to know that it's not his best? Maybe it will propel me to try again.

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    1. Definitely not his best. I hope you'll try Me Talk Pretty One Day or Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, too!

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  10. Oh no, sorry to hear it didn't live up to the expectations! I loved this one but it could be because it was the first Sedaris I read. Anyway, just finished his latest one and some parts were a bit off but even so I enjoyed it.

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    1. Looking forward to Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls. I have it waiting on my Nook. :)

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  11. Even though it wasn't what you were reviewing here, it sounds like I really need to pick up Me Talk Pretty One Day.

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