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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