Title: Me Talk Pretty One Day
Author: David Sedaris
Anna’s Rating: 4/5 (I should change to a 1-10 scale so I can give it a 9.)
Comments: Didn’t change my life, but it did, at times, make me laugh so hard that tears were rolling down my face.
Me Talk Pretty One Day is a series of essays divided into two parts: the first part is a collection of memories that begin in the author’s childhood in North Carolina and his adult life in New York City. The second part relates the experiences associated with moving to a foreign country (France, in this case) and learning a new language.
The absolute best chapter is entitled “Jesus Shaves”. It relates the story of second languages learners together in a class as they try to explain the concept of Easter to someone who had never heard of the holiday. Lacking vocabularly leads the students to describe Easter as the day when the man with long hair dies on two morsels of lumber and goes above your head to live with your father after coming back to say hello because he’s nice. Unfortunately, I can relate to this situation.
I also enjoyed reading about the author’s life in New York City, as I can relate all to well to this, too. Bits of New York wisdom are interspered, such as the fact that “owning a twelve-foot ladder in New York is a probable sign of success, as it means you likely have enough room to store one” (p. 153) and that “to be broke in New York was to feel a constant, needling sense of failure, as you were constantly confronted by people who not only had more but much, much more.” (p. 101) Asking movers with a full truck if the apartment they just emptied had been rented yet is not going too far – “they asked the same thing of the emergency medical crews pulling up to the hospital morgue.” (p. 115)
I’ll likely as not pursue some more of Sedaris’s works – he has a way of stringing words together into memorable short stories that produce laughter in quantities that will embarrass the reader in public, causing cheeks to ache from smiling too much and bellies to hurt from laughter.