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Funny But Not Solely About France or the French

  • Jun 4, 2003
As I purchased this book simply because it appears on so many Francophile Amazon.com listamania lists, I prepared myself for a throughly enjoyable and hysterically humorous read based on the 400+ reviews that pumped up the pleasure factor of this book to the almost unrealistic level of master satirist Mark Twain. While the book is funny, I was disappointed to discover that it really was not about France or the French---the essay entitled "Me Talk Pretty One Day", indeed narrates the author's amusing and insightful struggle with learning the French language while at a language school in Paris, but it is only one out of perhaps four or five essays about France, the majority of the book deals with Sedaris' issues with himself and his colorful family back in the US. (Now, please, just because I am warning those Amazon customers who wish to purchase a book about France and the French and were directed to this book by listamania listings, don't immediately click the "no" button as if the rest of my review isn't worth reading. Alas, I was sadly misdirected as most likely others are, too and should not be penalized for telling the truth as I see it. Nor should anyone rate anyone's review negatively simply because it expresses an alternative opinion.) Because of this misdirection, I read the first half of this book--which has nothing to do with France--with anticipation of when France and the French were going to pop up in the author's humorous anecdotes and musings regarding this understanding of life. By the time I got to the second part, where Sedaris travels to Paris with his boyfriend, I had already realized that this book of essays was just that: a book of essays containing only a few essays about France. I confess to skimming through the contents of each essay before deeming it worthy of my time--sorry to those of you who simply love everything Sedaris--and I will say that the French essays in the book are well worth the read---I just wish there had been a whole book dedicated to just this topic.

Therefore, if like myself, you have happened upon this page simply to read a book about France, save your money and either read the few French themed essays in the library or bookstore. Buy instead "On Rue Tatin"--the telling of an American woman and her husband who buy an old convent north of Paris or any of the Provence books by UK author Mayle. These books are not meant to be funny in a satirical manner, but instead convey an idea of the French and their country from alien prospectives.

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Diana Faillace Von Behren ()
Ranked #167
I like just about anything. My curiosity tends to be insatiable--I love the "finding out" and the "ah-ha" moments.      Usually I review a book or film with the … more
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About this book


David Sedaris became a star autobiographer on public radio, onstage in New York, and on bestseller lists, mostly on the strength of "SantaLand Diaries," a scathing, hilarious account of his stint as a Christmas elf at Macy's. (It's in two separate collections, both worth owning,Barrel Feverand the Christmas-themedHolidays on Ice.) Sedaris's caustic gift has not deserted him in his fourth book, which mines poignant comedy from his peculiar childhood in North Carolina, his bizarre career path, and his move with his lover to France. Though his anarchic inclination to digress is his glory, Sedaris does have a theme in these reminiscences: the inability of humans to communicate. The title is his rendition in transliterated English of how he and his fellow students of French in Paris mangle the Gallic language. In the essay "Jesus Shaves," he and his classmates from many nations try to convey the concept of Easter to a Moroccan Muslim. "It is a party for the little boy of God," says one. "Then he be die one day on two... morsels of... lumber," says another. Sedaris muses on the disputes between his Protestant mother and his father, a Greek Orthodox guy whose Easter fell on a different day. Other essays explicate his deep kinship with his eccentric mom and absurd alienation from his IBM-exec dad: "To me, the greatest mystery of science continues to be that a man could father six children who shared absolutely none of his ...
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ISBN-10: 0316777722
ISBN-13: 978-0316777728
Author: David Sedaris
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

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