Welcome to the hilarious, strange, elegiac, outrageous world of David Sedaris. In Naked, Sedaris turns the mania for memoir on its ear, mining the exceedingly rich terrain of his life, his family, and his unique worldview-a sensibility at once take-no-prisoners sharp and deeply charitable. A tart-tongued mother does dead-on imitations of her young son's nervous tics, to the great amusement of his teachers; a stint of Kerouackian wandering is undertaken (of course!) with a quadriplegic companion; a family gathers for a wedding in the face of imminent death. Through it all is Sedaris's unmistakable voice, without doubt one of the freshest in American writing. (from Goodreads)
This is an early Sedaris book, one I’m sure I’ve read at least once before. I don’t remember many of the stories, though, so it was ALMOST like reading it for the first time again.
Naked has a lot of stories about David Sedaris’ early life, from his childhood to somewhere around college-age. All his stories are very personal, but the stories in Naked are EXTREMELY so. You gotta admire someone who’ll write about all their weird twitches and screams and eye-rolls, for instance, and not even try to explain it except with a kind of shrug. I suppose the lack of deep instrospection keeps it from getting depressing since it IS a humor– though it’s still very much dark humor.
My favorite stories were, I think, the ones with David Sedaris’ mom. You know how people say someone’s “a character?” That’s DS’ mom. She’s a character. She’s the character. She’s amazing! Super-tough and scary, but lots of fun to read about. Maybe I like her because she calls(/called) DS out on his crap, or maybe I just like her because she’s cool, idk. Either way, she’s my favorite Sedaris family member. (Amy is my next favorite.)
I have to say, though, that despite my deep love for David Sedaris’ mother and despite the fact that I definitely remember laughing at most of the stories in Naked, I…can’t actually remember any details. This tends to happen a lot with David Sedaris’ stories? I don’t know why; possibly I read them too quickly and they all blur into one big mess of a Sedaris Family History. Like, I can remember events in David Sedaris’ life but I can’t remember which books those events showed up in, or which stories.
On the other hand, is that really a bad thing? A total stranger has gotten me to memorize bits of his personal history, and that’s GOT to be an accomplishment. Even if I can’t name any specific story title. (Except for the ones which the books are named after, of course. But that’s cheating.)
Read: May 6-11, 2013 (reread)