- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 25 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Hachette Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: April 23, 2013
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00C6K1BK0
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls Audiobook – Unabridged
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The owl in the title is stuffed. The author's partner, Hugh collected owl knick-knacks (not voluntarily--people started giving them to him when they found out he liked owls) and David wanted to top off his friend's collection with a stuffed owl. Unfortunately, taxidermists are not allowed to stuff owls in this country, even if the bird died of old age. When David and Hugh moved to France, they were stymied by the same law. However, although you can't kill an owl in England, you can have it stuffed once it's dead. David's trip to the English taxidermy shop is one of the highlights of this book:
"'If you like the odd bits and pieces, I think I've got something else you might enjoy.' The taxidermist retreated to the area behind his desk and pulled a plastic bag off an overhead shelf...From the bag he removed what looked like a platter with an oblong glass dome over it. Inside was a man's forearm, complete with little hairs and a smudged tattoo..."
The severed arm had a story behind it as do all of the odd bits and pieces that this author collects and shares with his readers. Some of the essays in "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls" are fantasies of what life might be like for a red-neck, right-wing voter. This is where the author ventures into Jonathan Swift's territory: heavy-handed satire, but witty. Very witty. These essays made me wonder what Sedaris thinks of the current Republican candidate for President.
I hope he writes an essay (or an entire book about the 2016 Presidential Race). He's one of the few authors who could do this subject justice.
Meanwhile, read this book and find out what David Sedaris thinks of the Chinese, Germans, the English, dentists, book tours, the lines at airports, and Pygmy skeletons.
There is an entire essay about journal writing. It's like he had to fill more pages for his publisher and just free-wrote about his journaling habits. I didn't find it funny or even remotely interesting.
That being said, this latest collection of essays feels mostly rushed and lacking in the details I have come to most look forward to in Sedaris' essays. At most, I was moved by three of his essays; most essayists would be lucky to achieve that number of affecting pieces in a collection; Sedaris, however, has set his own bar so high that "only" three is a disappointment.
Additionally, Sedaris' experiment of providing forensics pieces for teenagers to compete with were over-the-top ridiculous. As a Forensics coach and judge, I highly doubt any of the pieces here would work in a competitive meet. These "etc." pieces serve only to confuse the readers and break up otherwise semi-enjoyable reading. Perhaps if he were to flesh out these fictional short-stories and realized the characters and scenarios more fully, that's a new collection I would want to see from Sedaris!
I don't regret reading this book, but I wouldn't recommend it either.