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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