Friday, 11 July 2014

Me Talk Pretty One Day: Review

Author: David Sedaris
Type: Autobiography
Publisher: Abacus
Pages: 272
Originally published: 2000

I was interested in reading this book as it was recommended in one of those ‘10 best books about Paris’ articles. So, not knowing who David Sedaris was (for the rest of you as clueless as me - an American comedian), I picked it up from the library the other day. Although the whole first half of the book is situated on his growing up in the USA (indeed, not in France), I still found myself thoroughly enjoying reading about it. This is one of those books that make you laugh out loud and believe me, I was doing this quite occasionally.

However, my favourite part is definitely the second half, where Sedaris and his boyfriend are spending a few years living in Normandy. Keeping in mind that he arrives there without knowing a word of French, you should prepare yourself for even more laughs and ridiculous situations – for that is a typical American in France (now if he were reading this review he would have definitely questioned this statement).

Anyway, this is an instant page turner as the author’s great sense of self-irony turns him into quite the humourist. Indeed, being a comedian, his humour has been widely recognised as self-deprecating, often concerning his family life (and what a family life it is!).

What makes the second part of the book so good, is his struggle with studying French – something, I am sure, a lot of us understand. For example:
“The Hard Kind [of French spoken by Americans] involves the conjugation of wily verbs and the science of placing them alongside various other words in order to form such sentences as ‘I go him say good afternoon’ and ‘No, not to him I no go it him say now.’”

Reflecting back on the first part of the book – his upbringing in North Carolina – I found this quite interesting as a non-American reader. That is, sometimes this kind of stories might come off as being a bit too difficult for an outsider to appreciate them. Here, this is not the case – once again Sedaris’ sense of humour makes all the stories thoroughly enjoyable.

Me talk pretty one day is a bestseller for a reason. If you are looking for something funny and refreshing, or you are just starting studying a new language and are feeling completely hopeless – this is the book for you.

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