Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Salon with Sedaris

On a recent trip to Costco I came across When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. My daughter Martha raved about his "Me Talk Pretty One Day" and so I bought "Engulfed" after just a quick glance at the inside of the dust jacket.

I didn't know anything at all about David Sedaris, so when he revealed his homosexuality within the first few pages, I thought "Oh, oh" and prepared to set the book aside. Understand, I don't have a problem with gays. I believe gays have every bit as much right to be as I do. I was simply worried about the content of the book. I've never felt the need to discuss my own sexual proclivities, and I certainly don't want to hear about anyone else's. I crept forward, a little fearfully, ready to bolt if the bedroom door suddenly swung open. I'm glad I persisted.

This book is funny! and David Sedaris is a nice man. His essential sweetness comes through in his writing. The book just got better and better as I developed a genuine affection for David and Hugh.

There are some wonderful, outrageous stories. "That's Amore" introduces us to a New York neighbour, Helen, who is a profane, vicious old bag and yet, somehow, Sedaris portrays her with understanding and affection.

One thing I didn't love was his bug story. I hope this falls into the category of "exaggeration in the interest of humour". I guess most people wouldn't be bothered, but I'm a bit of a Jainist. There were some coarse-ish parts too. O.K., I've led a very sheltered life. The average person wouldn't be troubled by the odd rude reference and it probably takes a major pill to complain. I confess -- I'm a major pill, a thin-lipped, prissy old sack. But I'm recommending this very funny book anyway. It was written by a person I really like.

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At 5:27 AM, Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Great writing, Susan - and I'm with you on all this. You've put it very well, I think.

This bug story, though - I really want to know more, now...

At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing about Engulfed. I've done several fly-bys at the bookstore of it, and who wouldn't with the cover art, but I haven't picked it up. I have he "Me Talk Pretty Now" on my wishlist, but didn't know it was the same author for both. Makes it move up the WL more. :-D

At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Sedaris, thanks for reminding me about his new book. I almost forgot.

Like you, while not a homophobe (hey, one of my wife's best friends is a lesbian :)), I didn't want to hear necessarily about his sex life. Thankfully, I kept reading his work anyway and was pleasantly surprised.

At 11:41 PM, Anonymous Susan said...

Thanks, Clare! And thank you for stopping by, koolaidmom and readingfool!

At 8:07 PM, Blogger Terri said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:17 PM, Blogger Terri said...

I'm curious why you'd think, because he's gay, he'd write all about his sex life? I'm a lesbian. I don't write about my sex life at all. It's private.

Being gay is about having a life. It's not just about having sex.

I love Sedaris, he's such a hoot. I'm looking forward to his new book on audio - he reads his work so well and it adds a new dimension to it.


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