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Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary Hardcover – September 28, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
If you have ever waited in a line at the DMV or other government office, you will see yourself as perhaps one of this trio- the Toad, the Turtle, or the Duck. Those who are a "Friend of Bill" might see something familiar in a story about a cat with some issues.
In other words, each story holds up a mirror to our everyday life- but this being David Sedaris it's more a Wonderland or Funhouse mirror. Perhaps the closest I could come would be Aesop's fables written by a very modern Lewis Carrol.
I found one great quote I may have to use myself "It's not that they are stupid. It's that they are actively against knowledge". How true, and how sad.
Sedaris says to not expect a Moral for each Fable, but if you read them carefully, you should find some insight. "His morals are not spoon-fed cautionary tales of cause-and-effect but rather seemingly matter-of-fact observations that pack a subtle after shock of insightfully insinuated scrutiny."
Funny? Yes, but not laugh out loud funny, more wry and sometimes black humor (warning!). I found myself grinning quite a bit.
The artwork is delightful, being by the well known artist and author Ian Falconer of Olivia the Pig, etc.
Like so many other negative reviewers, I'm a long-time fan of Sedaris, from his very first appearances on This American Life through all of his published works. I've been to readings and have signed copies of "Barrel Fever" and "Naked".
What's more, I was really looking forward to THIS book. I'd heard one or two of these "fables" on This American Life and hoped Sedaris would put out a volume of them. In fact, I was disappointed that his last book, "When You Are Engulfed in Flames", was not that. (Frankly, I thought "Engulfed" was weak in comparison to his previous three books.)
These stories are brutal, vulgar, even hateful. What's most disappointing is that there is nothing really being said about the hypocrisy, self-centeredness, arrogance, woundedness, ignorance and other negative human traits being lived out by the hapless animals in these tales. The only commentary seems to be that people are awful, and life is misery.
This is so different from Sedaris' previous work. Yes, there's always been a sharp critique of hypocrisy in his stories, but there has also been a sense of hope, and laugh-out-loud humor that we can SHARE in. Only a monster (or someone under an "emperor's new clothes" delusion about Sedaris) could laugh at these stories.Read more ›
David Sedaris is a hilariously funny version, with keen-eyed and often brutal insights into human nature, but also with an occasional sweetness that surprised and touched me.
I loved reading this book, but felt I had to be on guard, because you can't trust your heart to these stories. Sedaris doesn't care if he kills and maims along the way to his lesson. Unhappy lives and unhappy endings happened to a lot of these characters, even ones who didn't necessarily deserve it.
The story about the sheep broke my freaking heart. Seriously. I cried. The illustrations by Ian Falconer of Olivia fame made the story even more heartbreaking. At the beginning of the story I kept going back to giggle at the insanely cheerful little lamb sitting with his mother. I loved the lamb. And then at the end, he got his eyes plucked out because his mother was kind of vacant and silly. Where was the justice in that story?
A few huge, dark downers set the tone of the book for me, and it was a bit hard to read while making sure I didn't actually end up caring about anyone just in case they got slaughtered. But - it was hilarious, too! The little quips about each of the animals were fantastic. Some were based on little-known animal facts and some were based on human nature, but Sedaris managed to slip a really good bit into pretty much every page. The pages are small, so that's saying something.
I'm too much of a delicate flower for this kind of book, but I still enjoyed it a lot.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I adore this book for it's excellent, clever and humorous depictions of human folly. Have given at least 6 people this book as gifts.Published 3 days ago by TwitteringG
When Sedaris hits, he really hits. Unfortunately the same can be said of his misses. There are a few funny stories in here. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Peter
HORRIBLE! I started listening to the Audiobook. I only made it past the third or forth story. It was dark, crude and entirely devoid of any redeeming qualities at all. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kenneth V. Weeks
Even if you love previous works of David Sedarius, I have most of them and love almost all of them...you probably won't like this. Read morePublished 3 months ago by E-K. Daufin
David Sedaris is greatly talented but why he has directed it towards stories that are all cynical and sinister is beyond me. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kensington Reviewer
Other reviews bash Sedaris for being dark, lacking hope, and not inclusive in the way that they expect him to be. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Michael J Milazzo
Sedaris is a genius. A great read, like all of his books. You can easily pick this book up and put it down, all of the chapters are essentially their own story. Read morePublished 4 months ago by M
Imagine love from a chipmunk’s view. Or the ironic compassion of a mouse and his pet snake. Or a worker uprising instigated by a whiny, foul-mouthed duck. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Terri Gautier