Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris

This is the first David Sedaris book I've read, and I'm left with a mild grin. It was entertaining enough, there were a few lines that made me laugh, but overall, I certainly wasn't blown away. It's the sort of thing you can read in short gulps and not really end up remembering much at all. Remember when I've talked about not always enjoying written humour? This would be another good example of that.

Also, I have a strong feeling that any future writing about taxidermied animals should really be left to Jenny Lawson, as she has pretty much cornered the market in hilarity on that subject. This was brought home more by how hard I laughed at her blog post about Vincent Van Goat this past week, so in comparison, Sedaris' relatively mild strange encounter trying to buy a stuffed owl for his partner just doesn't quite add up.

I think a lot of it is that there there doesn't seem to be any strong emotion behind this humour, and I'm a big believer that neither comedy nor drama just happens. Both emerge out of someone wanting something very badly, and whether it's comedy or drama depends on how it is done and what happens on the way. Comedy based on just kind of drifting through life...I don't know. I don't get it.

Still, there's nothing off-putting about this collection. Sedaris' misadventures are amusing enough, but I finished this only a day or two ago, and it's already feeling like they're drifting away.

On the other hand, a couple of the stories did tickle me - the one about his father mistaking one child for another one who had bullied one of his children, and then making him eat terrible freezerburned ice cream to make up for it, that was amusing.

And most of the little vignettes that were fictional people writing essays, those were often more pointed and funny. Taking aim at some of the worst aspects of people, in this case Americans, was done well, and those often had a drive to them that Sedaris' own life seemingly did not.

And the essay about the French dismissing the possibility that Obama could actually get elected. There were some truly great moments in that one, including a bit about being resentful that American conservatives were acting like they were the ones who'd invented truly hating a President.

Overall, I wasn't sorry I read it, but it didn't leave me feeling eager for more. Another one of those authors that I don't think I'll avoid if one of his books pops up on my lists, but not one that I'll seek out. It's humour, but it's not quite my kind of humour.

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