Review: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Book Facts

Title: Me Talk Pretty One Day
Author: David Sedaris
Published: 2000
Genre: Memoir/Essays
Overall Rating: 4/5


From Goodreads;

David Sedaris’ move to Paris from New York inspired these hilarious pieces, including the title essay, about his attempts to learn French from a sadistic teacher who declares that every day spent with you is like having a caesarean section. His family is another inspiration. You Can’t Kill the Rooster is a portrait of his brother, who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers of food and cashiers with six-inch fingernails.

Me Talk Pretty One Day


This book has been out for ages and has been sitting on my shelf for a while. I first read an excerpt of it in one of my writing courses. I immediately went out and bought the book. Once I actually picked the book up I was finished in just one day as I could not put it back down. I don’t often follow specific authors, but David Sedaris’s writing style is such that he could write about the history and science of doorknobs and I would be utterly enthralled. I am going to have to pick up more of his books.

From the first page Sedaris had me hooked with his ridiculously honest self-deprecating humor. The first chapter might be the most memorable from the book, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the book isn’t hilarious and well worth reading. It’s a collection of short memoir stories from the life of Sedaris, starting in grade school and moving, somewhat chronologically, into adulthood. Along the way he struggles with his sexuality, drugs, and what it means to be an ‘artist’.

The reason this isn’t a five star book for me is simply because I feel like it lacks a strong theme and focus. I’m finding it hard to pinpoint what this book is about. It’s a collection of seemingly random life stories tied together only by Sedaris’s captivating writing style. There are aspects of his life that I feel like, if expanded upon, could make fantastically themed memoirs. What is it like to grow up with 5 siblings? I’d certainly like to hear more on his drugged out ‘artist’ days. A book on his sexuality could be interesting to some. Maybe some of his other books are like this. Unlike the first half of the book, Part Deux (that’s two in French) has something of a theme going on. It’s all about his time in France with his boyfriend, Hugh. These could also stand on their own if expanded upon.

Even though I’m giving this only a 4/5, I would consider this book a must read for anyone who enjoys a good memoir or is in need of a lighthearted and funny book.

Further Reading


David Sedaris’s most recently published work that just came out this year. This is said to take a slight turn from the lighthearted tone he is known for and is described as his serious work yet. Not that anything by Sedaris can be totally serious. It’s darker humor than readers will be used to, but it’s still the same old Sedaris.

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls

I have seen this book more times than I can count and always assumed it was a nonfiction book on diabetes that was trying to be fun. Now that I know Sedaris’s work, I realize that it probably has little to do with diabetes or owls, but is sure to be an excellent read.


Another, slightly older (1997), bestseller by Sedaris. Much like Me Talk Pretty One Day this one seems to lack a real theme or focus other than being a collection of memoir essays about Sedaris’s life. I haven’t read Naked, but after reading some reviews on Goodreads I think that if you liked Me Talk Pretty One Day you’ll probably like this one too.

Holidays on Ice

Finally we have a collection of essays with a clear solid theme! Can you tell I love a theme in my memoirs? I’ll be picking this one up as my next Sedaris read. It seems to include Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas along with general winter themed essays and some on other countries holiday traditions.

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