Me talk Pretty One Day is a series of autobiographical vignettes. Each chapter is individually titled and reads somewhat like a short story. But unlike a typical collection of short stories, Me Talk Pretty One Day sticks to one central character – David Sedaris, the author – through the entire read. So as a reader, you feel invested the way you would reading a novel.
David Sedaris is a hilarious writer. I read this book in various public places — on planes, at airports — and frequently guffawed aloud. I’m sure that to strangers, I was clearly having a grand time.
Even the stories that weren’t so hilarious were wonderful. But of course, my favorite ones were those that had me laughing the most. “Go Carolina,” the first story, is about the author’s fifth grade experience with a speech therapist. Poor David had such a bad lisp that he couldn’t even pronounce his last name properly. He was so discouraged by his speech impediment that even during speech therapy, he avoided words with an “s.” So “yes,” became “correct,” and “rivers” became “a river or two.”
In several other stories, Sedaris writes about his peculiar family and his upbringing in North Carolina, his experiences with learning French when he first moved to France, and the time he had a midget guitar instructor who loved breasts.
During my read of this book, I felt a pervasive admiration for Sedaris. His writing is unencumbered by flowery language, attempts to sound profound, or forced humor. Sedaris is simply himself: smart, self-deprecating, and witty.
Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy Barrel Fever and Holidays on Ice nearly as much as Me Talk Pretty One Day. Sedaris has several other published works that I will read eventually. Still, I have a feeling Me Talk Pretty One Day might be his masterpiece.