Sunday, January 27, 2013

About Books: Holidays On Ice by David Sedaris

Horribly Boring Book Corner: Holidays On Ice by David Sedaris

I am a literature addict.  A desperate fiend who can, despite the pressures of job and marriage and fatherhood, devour TWO fine pieces of literature in a one-month span.  Ssssssmokin'!

The fine print:  I started Holidays On Ice in December.  And it's only 166 pages.  And each page is the size of a Thank-You card (like the ones I haven't written to people yet because who has time to be polite and properly thankful when there are books to read?).

This is the first David Sedaris book I've read.  I've read and heard essays by the guy and found them delightful.  The blurbs on the back of this wee tiny book were bursting with colorful praise.  I, regretfully, am not.

Like any good breakup: it's not the book, it's me.  I laughed myself silly at least three times, which probably means the book is worth the price.  But overall, I just can't really endorse the book as a whole.

Sedaris does a fantastic job weaving tales that shed light on himself and his family, and the real and unreal things that happen to him from childhood and beyond.  There is a shameless and quite funny wrongness about these tales that is truly delicious, but often veer from edgy to mean in just a few paragraphs.

This is where he loses me.  His satire of us as Americans begins (in almost any story) with a recognizable situation  which gets ridiculous and funny in a way we all recognize (if we're willing to admit it), and then continues getting worse and worse until he is treading firmly in the area of "This isn't funny anymore, can it please end now before it gets any worse", and then it doesn't actually end there.

So: if that's your thing, this may be your book.  It's not my thing, but it is my book because I bought it.  And I will likely re-read several of the stories.  But I can't endorse the entire work.  I am breaking up with this book, but hopefully we can still remain friends.

Again, it's not you, David.  It's me.