Another collection of Sedaris' wry comments on life (also see my review of When you are engulfed in flames). If this is a memoir, Sedaris has lived a sometimes surreal life. He talks about his bringing up: the father who never encouraged him (“Our artwork did not hang on the refrigerator or anywhere near it, because our parents recognised it for what it was: crap.” p 14), always praising other more athletic boys, his best friend (“With Shaun, though, I could almost be myself. This didn't mean that we were alike, only that he wasn't paying that much attention.” (p 60; “What brought us together was a love of nature, or, more specifically, of catching things and unintentionally killing them.” p 59). He writes about the contrast between doctors in the US, who pander to the neurotic hypochondriac in each of us, and those in Europe who point out that a fatty lump is not a tumour (“Either you can live in the past as a lonely, bitter paraplegic, or you can live in the present as one.” p 119). He talks about being so lonely that he moons over heterosexuals: “Johnny didn't strike me as gay, but it was hard to tell with alcoholics. Like prisoners and shepherds, many of them didn't care who they have sex with, the idea being that what happens in the dark stays in the dark.” (p 125) He talks about buying a stuffed owl as a Valentine's Day present for his boyfriend.
Life, he tells us, is like a four-ring stove. The rings are your family, your friends, your health, and your work. If you want to succeed you have to switch off one of the rings. To really succeed you have to switch off two. (pp 89 - 90)
Funny, in both senses of the word: September 2017; 275 pages
- Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57