Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Book Review: "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls" by David Sedaris

There were times when reading Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris' new, occasionally laugh-out-loud-funny collection of essays and fictional humorous pieces, that I thought, "David Sedaris and I share a brain," because in his rants about overly permissive parents in stores, people who talk too long with customer service representatives at the expense of others in line behind them, the way people dress in the airport, etc., I felt he and I were on the same wavelength.

And then, as he waxed on about food safety and other cleanliness issues in China, his obsession with picking up trash near his home in the United Kingdom, the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, and his childhood acts (unintentional and otherwise) of animal cruelty, I thought, "Well, maybe we just share a tiny piece of a brain," because in addition to being so insightful, Sedaris is more than a little bit crazy. But we like him that way!

I've always been a huge Sedaris fan, although the last collection of his I read, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, underwhelmed me a bit. Not so with this collection. I literally laughed out loud a number of times and had to explain, "It's the book I'm reading." Whether he was talking about his father's championing everyone except him in Attaboy, sharing the successes and pitfalls of learning new languages in Easy, Tiger, recounting his experiences doing readings for fans (which included a hilarious recounting of his adventures in a North Carolina Costco with his brother-in-law) in Author, Author, or his impatience with overly friendly people in Now Hiring Friendly People, his humor is on point and his reactions are absolutely hysterical.

In addition to his essays, the collection also includes a few humorous short story-type narratives. The funniest one for me (but in that typical offbeat Sedaris way) was Just a Quick E-mail, when a recent bride reached out to someone who didn't quite share her happiness. Some of the others, which took on reaction to same-sex marriage, Jesus, and "Obamacare"-related issues, made me squirm a little more than laugh. But they were so brief, it didn't quite matter.

I'm fairly cynical about my humor, and many so-called "funny" books I don't find particularly so, especially when they've been hyped as hysterically funny. But David Sedaris' new collection is one of those books, much like Augusten Burroughs' first few, which made me laugh out loud, and left me sad when I was finished.

1 comment:

  1. David Sedaris has never let me down, and this book is no different. Laugh out loud funny, intelligent wit. Just great!