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Me Talk Pretty One Day [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

David Sedaris
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (543 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 34.98 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

June 1 2000
David Sedaris became a star autobiographer on public radio, onstage in New York, and on bestseller lists, mostly on the strength of "SantaLand Diaries," a scathing, hilarious account of his stint as a Christmas elf at Macy's. (It's in two separate collections, both worth owning, Barrel Fever and the Christmas-themed Holidays on Ice.) Sedaris's caustic gift has not deserted him in his fourth book, which mines poignant comedy from his peculiar childhood in North Carolina, his bizarre career path, and his move with his lover to France. Though his anarchic inclination to digress is his glory, Sedaris does have a theme in these reminiscences: the inability of humans to communicate. The title is his rendition in transliterated English of how he and his fellow students of French in Paris mangle the Gallic language. In the essay "Jesus Shaves," he and his classmates from many nations try to convey the concept of Easter to a Moroccan Muslim. "It is a party for the little boy of God," says one. "Then he be die one day on two... morsels of... lumber," says another. Sedaris muses on the disputes between his Protestant mother and his father, a Greek Orthodox guy whose Easter fell on a different day. Other essays explicate his deep kinship with his eccentric mom and absurd alienation from his IBM-exec dad: "To me, the greatest mystery of science continues to be that a man could father six children who shared absolutely none of his interests." Every glimpse we get of Sedaris's family and acquaintances delivers laughs and insights. He thwarts his North Carolina speech therapist ("for whom the word pen had two syllables") by cleverly avoiding all words with s sounds, which reveal the lisp she sought to correct. His midget guitar teacher, Mister Mancini, is unaware that Sedaris doesn't share his obsession with breasts, and sings "Light My Fire" all wrong--"as if he were a Webelo scout demanding a match." As a remarkably unqualified teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago, Sedaris had his class watch soap operas and assign "guessays" on what would happen in the next day's episode. It all adds up to the most distinctively skewed autobiography since Spalding Gray's Swimming to Cambodia. The only possible reason not to read this book is if you'd rather hear the author's intrinsically funny speaking voice narrating his story. In that case, get Me Talk Pretty One Day on audio. --Tim Appelo

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From Amazon

"It's a pretty grim world when I can't even feel superior to a toddler." Welcome to the curious mind of David Sedaris, where dogs outrank children, guitars have breasts, and French toddlers unmask the inadequacies of the American male. Sedaris inhabits this world as a misanthrope chronicling all things petty and small. In Me Talk Pretty One Day Sedaris is as determined as ever to be nobody's hero--he never triumphs, he never conquers--and somehow, with each failure, he inadvertently becomes everybody's favorite underdog. The world's most eloquent malcontent, Sedaris has turned self-deprecation into a celebrated art form--one that is perhaps best experienced in audio. "Go Carolina," his account of "the first battle of my war against the letter s" is particularly poignant. Unable to disguise the lisp that has become his trademark, Sedaris highlights (to hilarious extent) the frustration of reading "childish s-laden texts recounting the adventures of seals or settlers named Sassy or Samuel." Including 23 of the book version's 28 stories, two live performances complete with involuntary laughter, and an uncannily accurate Billie Holiday impersonation, the audio is more than a companion to the text; it stands alone as a performance piece--only without the sock monkeys. (Running time: 5 hours, 4 cassettes) --Daphne Durham

From Publishers Weekly

Sedaris is Garrison Keillor's evil twin: like the Minnesota humorist, Sedaris (Naked) focuses on the icy patches that mar life's sidewalk, though the ice in his work is much more slippery and the falls much more spectacularly funny than in Keillor's. Many of the 27 short essays collected here (which appeared originally in the New Yorker, Esquire and elsewhere) deal with his father, Lou, to whom the book is dedicated. Lou is a micromanager who tries to get his uninterested children to form a jazz combo and, when that fails, insists on boosting David's career as a performance artist by heckling him from the audience. Sedaris suggests that his father's punishment for being overly involved in his kids' artistic lives is David's brother Paul, otherwise known as "The Rooster," a half-literate miscreant whose language is outrageously profane. Sedaris also writes here about the time he spent in France and the difficulty of learning another language. After several extended stays in a little Norman village and in Paris, Sedaris had progressed, he observes, "from speaking like an evil baby to speaking like a hillbilly. 'Is thems the thoughts of cows?' I'd ask the butcher, pointing to the calves' brains displayed in the front window." But in English, Sedaris is nothing if not nimble: in one essay he goes from his cat's cremation to his mother's in a way that somehow manages to remain reverent to both of the departed. "Reliable sources" have told Sedaris that he has "tended to exhaust people," and true to form, he will exhaust readers of this new book, tooDwith helpless laughter. 16-city author tour. (June)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Dose of Culture Shock Oct. 4 2000
I read this book right after reading Bill Bryson's I'm a Stranger Here Myself. It seems to me that there is a recent theme in new books that centers around humor at the expense of a person who is experiencing culture shock. Since this seems to be the recent theme, I suppose there's no harm in writing yet another book review with a theme of culture shock.
Davis Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day combines two of the world's greatest cities- New York and Paris- with humor, all in one book that is incredibly hard to put down. The book is comprised of a series of humorous personal experience pieces, the first half of which take place in Sedaris' native New York City and the second half of which take place in Paris, where he moves to temporarily with his boyfriend Hugh.
The first essay in Me Talk Pretty One Day sets the fast and funny pace continued throughout the rest of the book. It also sets the theme of "culture shock" in one's own county, because Sedaris comments on many experiences in his youth that made him feel alienated from other people in his own environment. In it, Sedaris discusses the speech impediment (aka "lisp") that he had as a child and still has to this day. The efforts of his speech teacher to correct the lisp were never successful, but Sedaris' descriptions of them are hilarious. He writes about the kids who were in his speech therapy class, saying, "None of the speech therapy students were girls. They were all boys like me who kept movie star scrapbooks and made their own curtains... 'One of these days I'm going to have to hang a sign on that door,' [my speech teacher] used to say. She was probably thinking along the lines of SPEECH THERAPY LAB, though a more appropriate marker would have read FUTURE HOMOSEXUALS OF AMERICA".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny stuff March 26 2013
By Marion
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great read. Easy to enjoy and funny. I picked this book up when i was trying to get back into reading. It did the trick!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sedaris Rocks Feb. 1 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Every time I read one of his books, I know I'll laugh. Sharp, biting, unbelievably hilarious and poignant all at once.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky humour, fabulous writing! Sept. 26 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
There's little to be derived by relaying the stories combined in a memoir -that's unnecessary but to say there are no deep plots or life lessons -it's the pure genius, components to Sedaris's humour - self -deprecating, slanted perspectives, obsessive -compulsive behaviours, hilarious depictions & characteristically Sedaris -style of writing that has created ardent fans of his books.

If you've never read David Sedaris, this book along with "Naked "are the best samples of his writing. The latter was the first I read, which again in memoir style., though impossibly sardonic & cynical towards his ailing mother, is tongue in cheek arrogance towards a disfunctional family. Hilarity & outstanding writing in that vein.

Once you've read these two books, I wud suggest reading his earliest works thereafter, only because his most recent haven't held up to expectation. I think his best achievements, which established a huge popularity, may have decreased the spontaneity in writing about simple scenarios with that quirky point of view. Nevertheless, Me Talk Pretty won't disappoint & you'll be eager to read more Sedaris.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Aug. 20 2013
By Lugg
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I laughed out loud a few times. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys exploring other people's point of view.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cracked me up Oct. 31 2007
This book, along with McCrae's "Katzenjammer" really cracked me up. While the two have nothing subject-wise in common, they're both funny. Sedaris is a master storyteller and knows just the thing to say to make you go, "Ah ha!" I've given multiple copies of the book to everyone I know.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The first book that made me laugh out loud. Aug. 7 2000
I often find that when others claim a book is funny, it usually isn't very humorous. However, Me Talk Pretty One Day is the exception to this rule. Sedaris' short essays about small things in life are much like a Seinfield episode. His telling style and honesty about himself makes you feel as humble and as human as he is throughout the book. It is extremley well done, and it extremley hilarious.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A good example of how not to write a story Aug. 26 2002
I heard an interview with David Sedaris' sister. She talked a lot about David and this book. It sounded great, so I picked it up that day. I anticipated a raw and witty story revealing the oddness of family life. However, what I got was a rant.
I can accept that it is not a novel, but a bunch of random thoughts. Still, I like to be compelled to at least read the next word. But, I found my self predicting the next line and trudging through the pages.
Whatever happened to character building? Who cares about these people? Lots of us have stories like these tucked away in our families (what not you?). Anyway, my point is that David Sedaris attempts ONLY to talk pretty. I can just picture him throwing words together and then sitting back with a grin saying, "Oh yeah, I'm a laugh riot."
Don't waste your precious time.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars late!!!
I ordered this item on July 26th and it was supposed to be delivered between August 4-11 and it is the 26th and still not here yet!!!
Published on Aug. 26 2010 by Kaliopi Kuzyk
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Hilarious!
I read this book years ago and recently bought it as a Christmas present for a friend of mine. He had never read David Sedaris before, and now my friend can't get enough of his... Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2010 by Lishi
5.0 out of 5 stars HILARIOUS!!!
If you want and need a really good laugh, David Sedaris will deliver!!!! The funny life stories go from one to the next, but somehow are linked to reality and can be poignant at... Read more
Published on Oct. 23 2009 by Nat
4.0 out of 5 stars Me Sing Pretty Too
I was introduced to the work of David Sedaris about seven years ago through a friend who gave me the audio version of this book as a gift. Read more
Published on Sept. 27 2009 by Douglas Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Help the language-challenged! Please!
I like this book. I think it is a good thing to acknowledge people with language problems. Imagine you are enjoying a nice afternoon tea with a pretty girl. She looks lovely. Read more
Published on June 17 2009 by J. Stinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This is not a novel, nor is it anything close, but thank God for David Sedaris and his tell-it-like-it is humour. Read more
Published on Nov. 28 2007 by James Monroe
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!!
My first attempts at reading David Sedaris's stories did not go well. I didn't find the stories funny, and found it difficult to find the desire to pick up the book and read it. Read more
Published on April 17 2007 by Sedaris Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars The funniest book ever written
ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY is the most enjoyable read I have had so far this year. Anyone who has read NAKED will appreciate the continuing adventures of David Sedaris. Read more
Published on Sept. 25 2006 by Seabold
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