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Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls Hardcover – April 23, 2013
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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
If you like David Sedaris, this is the book for you. Typical his style. I love it.Published 5 days ago by Linda Bu
I love his books so much. This one is another win for me with David Sedaris. I enjoy his humor, insights and his world view.Published 1 month ago by Delaina Bates
Very entertaining, and with the time to red. Sometimes. It is great to look at life from the other side of the looking glass.Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
You can't read it without hearing it in David Sedaris' voice.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I don't care for the book. I would not recommend to friends. Never did finish reading it.Published 2 months ago by Carol A Wisniewski
It's not laugh-out loud, but it has occasional Sedaris-genius sprinkled a few times. His one-man attempt to clean up a tiny English town that likes to dump it's trash by the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by R. Navarro