If I could write a memoir in David Sedaris’s fashion I would split it into two parts, titled, “un” for the part of me that lived before reading Me Talk Pretty One Day and “deux” for the time after. This little motif would reference both how much the book changed my life and be an offensive attempt to demonstrate that after 6 years of learning French, I had in fact, learned a few words.
Joking aside, I would rate this book a 100/5 if it were possible.
I first discovered the wonderful world of David Sedaris when I heard "The Youth in Asia" on the This American Life podcast, “In Dog We Trust.” After hearing that story read aloud by Mr. Sedaris himself, seemingly over the radio with glimmer in his eye and a eccentric grin on his face, I'd grown obsessed. I forced friends and friends of friends to listen to it, likely much to their muted, patience with me. From then on, I’ve read his books, savoring each essay one by one.
His books always leave me laughing for hours, snickering to myself days after, when it is inappropriate to laugh to myself in public while remembering one of his lines. “She’s crazy,” college students walking by would say. I read and reread sentences to decipher the genius of his comedic timing that comes often in 2-3 lines each. I don't know how he does it.
Me Talk Pretty One Day, like his other books, is the same witty, dark humor, that unapologetically switches between self-deprecating and to-all-around-him-deprecating. I was so engrossed in the book that by the time I had reached the essay titled "Me Talk Pretty One Day" and thought, 'hey, that's the title of the book,’ several hours had flown by. I binged the book in one setting.
Now enough of the praise on Mr. Sedaris himself; I wanted to remember some of his pieces. As a failed student to my 6 different French teachers throughout middle school, high school, and college, and an even bigger failure to myself after downloading Duolingo and subsequently tucking the app away in a folder hidden on the third screen of my phone, I guess it would be easy to tell that my favorite stories were of David’s first times in France.
After romanticizing about living in France for practically my whole life, and planning to go live in the countryside there soon in the next few years, his self-deprecating descriptions had me laughing my sides out, both at his experience and foreshadowing what I’m sure will be my own in a few years time.
My favorite stories include:
The Youth in Asia (Of course)
The Great Leap Forward
See you again yesterday
Me Talk Pretty One Day
The Tapeworm Is In
I hope you enjoy the book as much as I do.
And above all, you will be at peace with yourself, and a double blessing to me, who am, my dear reader, most anxiously awaiting your reading of David Sedaris,