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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Me Talk Pretty One Day

    Title: Me Talk Pretty One Day Author: David Sedaris Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (2000)

    I picked up my first copy of “Me Talk Pretty One Day” at a small little shop called “Hudson News” at the airport. Since I would be traveling via Jet Blue, I already knew that the flight was going to be delayed. I read the reviews in the beginning of book claiming that it was “blisteringly funny” by People magazine and “hilarious and insightful” by the Wall Street Journal. Initially, I thought that the book would entail lame jokes that would wildly entertain the old, but I found myself laughing so hard I had to put the book down due to a stomach cramp.

    I think we pretty much all know someone who is hysterically funny, but doesn’t mean to be. One who simply tells a story with a complete straight face and at the end of the story you find yourself swamped with tears of laughter; Dave Sedaris has mastered this very technique. All of us can have strange thoughts towards a person or a situation in our head from time to time, but we’d never elaborate on them because we have humility. Sedaris takes these very thoughts that most would be too embarrassed to talk about and writes them down- play by play.

    In his collections of somewhat vulgar stories from his life, he writes about a particular time when he attends a dinner hosted at his friend’s house. He informs everyone that he is going to the bathroom, and when he gets there he finds a huge turd floating in the toilet. Since he has already told everyone of his trip to the bathroom, he is stuck with flushing it down before someone accuses him of leaving it there in the first place. “The tank refilled, and I made a silent promise. The deal was that if this thing would go away, I’d repay the world by performing some unexpected act of kindness. I flushed the toilet a second time, and the big turd spun a lazy circle.”

    Sedaris moves to Paris from New York City and doesn’t fail to mention all the stereotypes that Americans have about the French and vice versa. It is quite hysterical. At one point in the novel Sedaris, boards a train in Paris and encounters with an American tourist couple. The couple, mistaking that everyone around them is French and that no one speaks English, mock Sedaris in front of his face. “I’m willing to bet that our little friend here hasn’t had a good bath in two weeks. Jesus Christ, someone should hang a deodorizer around this guy’s neck.”

    It is difficult to understand Sedaris’s sense of humor right off the bat. I found myself debating which was funnier: his life or his stories. He deals with serious drug issues in the beginning and considers himself an artist when his “artwork” consists of literally piecing together pieces of garbage and putting them on display. His narratives aren’t in any chronological order. Instead, just like his life, they are random.

    I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves to have a good laugh. The absurdity resembles that of the hit television show “Seinfeld”. When reading Me Talk Pretty One Day I couldn’t help but think of the following quote from the movie Garden State: “If you can’t laugh at yourself, life’s going to seem a whole lot longer than you like.” Dave Sedaris’s ability to create one big witty comic skit about his life is hands down, incredible.

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