This book was recommended to me by two people. By a friend who knows I’m writing a book about my life in the UK, and by my tutor. I finished it at the weekend and here is what I thought off it.
Sedaris starts off by telling the reader about his childhood and having speech therapy as he had trouble pronouncing certain letters. He describes in vivid detail what it felt like to be an outsider because he had to receive speech therapy and how he learned to adapt by using a whole different set of words that did not start with the letter ‘S’.
He talks about his drug abuse and his early years of being an artist. He briefly touches on the subject of discovering he was gay.
Sedaris then moves on about telling us about his move from New York to France and his journey on becoming a fluent French speaker, which is of course not easy at all.
The book made me laugh out loud at times and grinch in other places. I could identify myself with certain aspects of what it is like to live in another country and trying to master a foreign language. Particularly funny were the situations were he got a word wrong and everybody looked at him in a weird way.
As I was reading the book not for pleasure but for my studies I had to analyse certain parts very carefully. I found then book was lacking warmth. David Sedaris comes across as quite cynical. I was also wondering about how much he used exaggeration to achieve humour and how much he had to bend the truth in order to achieve that.
On reading more about it online I found that his book is used as some sort of bench mark in memoir/personal essay writing. It is definitely worth a read and it will make you laugh and `I have learned a lot from it in order to improve my own writing, although it may not be my style of writing.