About a month ago, you may recall, I eviscerated Sloane Crosley’s “humorous” memoir, I Was Told There’d Be Cake.
Having previously read Sedaris’ When You Are Engulfed in Flames and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, I was fairly well acquainted with his style. Understated with ribbing humour and a knack for coming full-circle, Sedaris’ style is subtle with a few splashes of provocation. Though I’d seldom found myself laughing out loud, from the opening essay of Me Talk Pretty One Day, I found myself giggling endlessly and stifling laughter on the train. Though I’d enjoyed his later work, this is the Sedaris that Americans know, love, and recommended time and time again. I get it now.
Me Talk Pretty One Day is a collection of personal essays, concentrating on Sedaris’ art schooled mid-20s, moving to New York, temp jobs, and relocation to Normandy and Paris. With hilarious stories about his avant-garde drug addiction, eccentric sister Amy (a well-known comic in the US), and trials of learning a second language, the book covers many of the same topics as Dress Your Family, but something in the wordplay of his midget guitar teacher, “dipping his burger in a sad puddle of mayonnaise,” really did it for me this time.
If you’re new to Sedaris, this is an excellent place to begin.