Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris
I am going to admit right here and now, for all the internet to see, that I have never read a David Sedaris book before this one. Oh I'd heard enough about him and I was pretty sure that I'd enjoy his tales, but never enough to push me to actually pick up a book and read it. That is until I listened to an interview of him on NPR. HILARIOUS! I had to have this book of short stories (thanks mom and dad!).
In obvious David Sedaris-style the stories are dark and humorous, but I didn't quite expect the fable-like quality that they have. Maybe the fable description is a little misleading, the stories are more like small snapshots into human behavior. Mr. Sedaris starts off with a light story about a cat, baboon, and customer service; it quickly takes a turn toward morbid as he flits from topics like racism to adultery. He cleanses the palate at the end with some stories about redemption and friendship, which I have to admit I needed by the end. Overall what really skeeved me out were the illustrations by Ian Falconer (you know, the author and illustrator of the Olivia books?) that are quite twisted. Find the illustration for "The Crow and the Lamb" and try and tell me that it's not just a little gross. Which is why it's so brilliant.
You might have noticed by now that I haven't actually summarized anything about this book. This is mostly because the stories are so short that if I were to summarize them I would be writing the stories down verbatim. I will say though that I have a couple favorites: "The Sick Rat and the Healthy Rat," "The Vigilant Rabbit," and "The Grieving Owl." So go forth, get the book, give yourself a good hour and a half to read it, and let me know what you think.