Note: This review will refer to the listener as the reader.
Just who is this David Sedaris guy and why do people fill theaters to listen to him perform his essays and buy his books? After listening to this audio book, you will know.
He is a master of showing the quirky, uncomfortable silences, revealing edgy observations regarding questionable behavior, some even admittedly his own, and it makes us laugh. No wonder The New Yorker has benefited from his wit and creativity for so long. Be warned, Sedaris is not for the meek or narrow-minded and in fact, his best work hovers on the slippery slope of appropriate, but not all the time. I sometimes thought, after finishing an essay, “I can’t believe he wrote that, and I can’t believe I read it and liked it.”
The subject matter of each essay in The Best of Me (published 2020) is unique, from the most popular “Six to Eight Black Men” where Sedaris explains the fractured legend of St. Nick as told to him by a Netherlands guide to “Just a Quick Email,” posing as a bourgeoisie tipping the scales of entitlement in an ungrateful thank you note.
Some of the essays are read from a studio, while others are performed in front of a live audience and I enjoyed them equally. I plan to re-listen, as so many of his pieces overflow with a crafting only an artist of his caliber could employ. He conveys so much with so little; perhaps this is the reason why hearing him read and inflect meaning at just the right places, or pausing for effect made his performances entertaining and memorable as compared to the printed page. His pieces resonated and stayed with this reader in the sustainable manner of great writing. The essay format is also a great way to enjoy reading for those with a few precious moments to sneak in a good story before bed.
After listening to The Best of Me, I am going to read more of Sedaris’ work and hope I don’t laugh too loud. I do like to relax into sleep with a smile on my face and keep Sedaris in my mind as a guilty little literary pleasure.
I would recommend this book to adults who like realistic and thought-provoking content and want to feel the laughter. The content contains some colorful expletives and references to sex.
Format: Audio Book