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2.8 out of 5 stars
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2010
If you're already a David Sedaris fan, odds are good you'll like this book of short stories. Every tale is a fast read. I finished the book over a few break times at work. In it, you'll find learn that inconsiderately named species like the humpback whale and the potbellied pig have developed inferiority complexes. Dogs commit adultery (no surprise there), moralizing chickens and rodents believe that roasted birds and lab rats somehow deserve their fates, and self-absorbed sheep are "fleeced" (yes, I went for it.)

I really like Ian Falconer's illustrations, though they do give away the endings of several stories. They're funny and a bit unnerving all at once--a really perfect choice for this collection.

Sedaris is famous for his personal essays. His writing has always felt strangely wholesome, even when he's talking about old drug binges. Maybe it is because Sedaris seems to have such close relationships with the people he loves. He also focuses more on his own gaffes than anyone else's. These stories are more mean-spirited than any of his other books. No one ever gets a chance to redeem themselves, but I guess neither did two of the three little pigs in the original version of the story.

If you don't normally read Sedaris, but are interested in traditional folktales or fractured fairytales, this might also be a great choice for you. Expect some sex talk and a few grisly endings... Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2011
I first listened to this book via library download, then purchased the CD from amazon.ca. It's in my car so that I can hear the stories -- the reading is outstanding -- the same way a child has favorites at bedtime. I think it's brilliant. First of all, it's highly satiric, and Sedaris has a wonderful ear for how people speak, and a lot of intuition into how they think. In this way, the animals have human characteristics and personalities. However, he's very knowledgeable about the animal world, so there's a great deal of accurate detail about animal life. They talk like people, and we can often relate to situations, but they act like what they are. Hence, nature in tooth and claw can come as a shock in some of these fables. Some of the stories deal with very serious issues -- abused wives for example. They are not all funny -- the concise graphic descriptions give a photographic quality to the text. There's a great deal of wit -- especially word play. The fly with the superiority complex on the 'upper crust' of a pie -- Sedaris is fairly subtle sometimes, so that with each hearing I've found more to laugh at. There is some obscenity in this book -- it's not for children -- but this is the aspect of the animals representing people. I can hear these stories again and again -- the CD is strongly recommended over the print version. In fact, I'm buying a couple of extra copies to send to friends who I know will appreciate 'Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk'. It's not for everyone [see some negative reviews] but it's one of my favourites.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2011
This book of short stories is laugh out loud funny at some parts, and the animal characters add a bit of a twist from Sedaris' regular tales. But be warned, they can be a pretty dark. The stories are also quite a bit shorter than most of his other works, so it only takes an hour or so to get through the book. With the great illustrations and funny subject matter, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is a quick but still satisfying read.
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This is a collection of stories told through anthropomorphised animal characters. Essentially the stories are satirical commentaries where the animal characters share traits or experiences that feel distinctly human while somehow believable coming from those animals.

I notice some of the reviews call the stories dark. I suppose that's true, but only as far as it's also true that life can be dark sometimes. I didn't find it gratuitously dismal or dark.

I've never read other David Sedaris books but have read his essays in the New Yorker over the year and always love the essays. This book is good, but to me doesn't live up to his more personal works that I've read before.
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on December 29, 2010
A masterpiece! This book is not for the faint hearted- it's pretty graphic and descriptive. Sedaris takes the reader on a journey through the animal kingdom which looks remarkably similar to our own. That's all I can really say. Its a tough one to describe- you just have to read it to understand. The only complaint I have about this book is that it is too short.
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on August 31, 2013
I am a big fan of Sedaris - the light, the heavy, the biographical, the stories ... but not this book. It's not "bitter-sweet", it's very, very dark and sometimes gross. When I listened to "The Motherless Bear" I was truly disgusted. Still a fan, but I will read the reviews and hopefully know what to avoid from now on.
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on July 14, 2013
I bought one for myself and one as a gift, and these stories are DARK. A few are funny, as I was expecting, but I can see the style Sedaris was attempting. He attempted and nailed it. Not my sort of thing, and the person I gave to as a gift was expecting a hilarious little book as well, and couldn't finish it. Pity.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2012
Good book, a little short but great for an afternoon the deck with your fav drink, and hiding away from the kids.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2010
i cringed my way through about 6 of these short fables before i closed the book and scratched my head, mystified as to why on earth it was accepted for publication, who the target audience might possibly be and what the point the author was trying to make. the language is foul, the illustrations are faux naif and the stories are sadistic and crass, lacking the underlying moral of true fables. a sorry endeavour....
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2014
stupid!!!
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