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Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls Paperback – June 3, 2014
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Top Customer Reviews
It's been a long five years since David's last book of essays. This makes the new book more difficult to please: our expectations are so high, our desire to be amused so great, that anything less than than terrific is disappointing. I certainly wouldn't say that this collection is terrific. Nor is it nearly as good as his previous essay collections. Some of the essays are, in fact, excellent, but more than a few I felt were in the 'tortured-premise/contrived' category, and others were just bland.
Let's get the lesser essays out of the way first. What Sedaris does best is observational humor - seeing the hilarity in the details in life. Topical humor is usually the purview of lesser writers: having a topical premise for humor and torturing it (spreading it out) over a ten-page essay. Sadly, Sedaris takes a current topic, same-sex marriage, throws in a redneck, and ... hilarity ensues. Not. It's a contrived piece. And several of the pieces are not essays but entirely fictional short stories.Read more ›
Although his self-deprecating stories are most effective at pointing out the absurdities in everyday life, and sometimes share similar formulas, it's a formula I find never gets old. To me, his writing is akin to curling up on the couch with your family in front of a large fire telling stories. It's comforting, familiar (in a good way), and full of belly laughs. This book continues the high quality of writing that I discovered over a decade ago with "Naked."
In one of my favorite stories from this book, Sedaris describes visiting a taxidermy shop in London, where he plans to buy a stuffed owl as a Valentine's Day present. Somehow he befriends the owner, who decides that David would be the type of person who would like to see what lies behind the curtain, that which the typical shoppers aren't allowed to see. Intrigued? Among the bizarre displays and specimens is a miniature human skeleton. What kind of human skeleton would be found here? I won't spoil the ending, but it's definitely not what you'd expect.Read more ›
Sedaris fans blindly love every word he writes. Over the years, I've morphed into only an occasional fan. Because Sedaris has a problem: success. It's a trick to get people to care about your personal quirks and difficulties when you've sold more than 7 million books and own more than half a dozen residences on two continents. That this book is as good as it is is a considerable triumph.
Start with the flaws: "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls," at 275 pages, is padded with six pieces that are new for Sedaris. "Over the years I've met quite a few teenagers who participate in what is called 'Forensics,'" he writes. "Students take published short stories and essays, edit them down to a predetermined length, and recite them competitively. To that end, I have written six brief monologues that young people might deliver before a panel of judges. I believe these stories should be self-evident. They're the pieces in which I am a woman, a father, and a sixteen-year-old girl with a fake British accent."
Sounds good? They're easy targets. A critic has said: "They drip with contempt for the kind of teapartying middle American who loves guns and hates gay marriage."
Bitterness and contempt may be new tones for Sedaris, but that's understandable --- and, in other pieces, welcome. In "Dentists Without Borders," the book's lead-off essay, he chronicles his experiences with dentists in France. They are cheap, kind, efficient, charming in their way.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've read David for YEARS, this book was disappointing. I couldn't finish it.Published 1 day ago by Tess Bouds
Sorry, but I was expecting so much, I guess A few laughs, but I don't think this one is my kind of humor, referring to his own kids in negative manner, and wives that tricked him... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Knitting_Knut
David Sedaris is a comic genius. Whether he is narrating an everyday event, or writing as someone else, he is darkly hilarious and insightful. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Voracious reader
As a result of how good the other books I read were, I want to give this one 1-star, because I'm really not enjoying it. However, I've had a couple laughs. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Chris
Good book - amusing. Sometimes it lost me and was a bit self important though...Published 12 days ago by Danielle Giordano
My dad raves about this book, he thinks it is hilarious! It's a light read and I always see it by his bed!Published 13 days ago by Caroline L.
David Sedaris never disappoints. I laughed so hard that people on the train were giving me dirty looks. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Amazon Customer