David Sedaris has been on the edge of my consciousness for some time. I’m fairly sure that I’ve heard him interviewed on the radio. Or maybe he turned up in these parts to participate in a writers’ festival. In any event, I hadn’t read anyting written by him before and I read this book not because I sought it out, but because it was given to me as a gift. It was given to me because Sedaris writes about Paris and my friend thought that would interest me. She was right. I enjoyed the anecdotes about Sedaris’ life in Paris, particularly about his efforts to learn French.
That said, I’m not sure that I’ll be going out of my way to read more of Sedaris' work. The first anecdote in the volume is partly what put me off. In it, Sedaris writes about the speech therapy he had as a child to overcome his lisp. He seems to be suggesting that all boys who lisp are gay, or possibly that all gay boys lisp. I have my doubts that the story is even true, but regardless of the point Sedaris wanted to make, it left me irritated rather than amused. The irritation persisted, notwithstanding genuinely funny moments in other parts of the book.
Clearly, Sedaris can be funny. However, the funny stories in this volume made me smile rather than laugh out loud and a number of them are probably more fiction than fact. Overall, okay-to-good but not great. Maybe it was just the wrong book for me to read this week. 2-1/2 stars.