Thursday, April 16, 2015

I was a smart-ass, born and raised

I finished reading David Sedaris's Naked sometime in early February, and as I recently mentioned, I can't really remember much of it. It's a collection of essays, non-fiction (or "non-fiction" as I'm sure there's a fair amount of exaggeration here) in the same vein as his other work. Or at least the work of his I've read. I enjoyed the book. I did. But I can't really remember any of it, which does not say much for the book. As I flipped through it, I began to remember bits and pieces and yeah, it was entertaining.

There's no real theme to the essays. They're about him and his life, but that always seems to be the case. He talks about his family and what it was like when he was young. He talks about his time in college and traveling around doing odd jobs. He talks about his mother's impending death from cancer. And he talks about spending time at a nudist colony.

Since it's difficult to talk about collections of essays or short stories anyway, and even more complicated when you can't remember a lot of them, I'm not sure where to go here. Perhaps talk about a couple of the ones I do somewhat remember, now that I've looked at a list of titles and quick synopses.

"Get Your Ya-Ya's Out!" Sedaris talks about how depressing his grandmother was and what it was like when she came to live with them and how miserable everyone was. Everyone but his father. I pretty much picture his grandmother as the grandmother from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, always dressed in black, always depressed, and refusing to call Sedaris's mother by her name because she wasn't Greek. Good, dysfunctional family times.

"I Like Guys" is Sedaris's story of essentially how every teach her had was, directly or indirectly, homophobic and how terrifying it was for him. Eventually he goes on a month-long sleep-away camp trip to Greece and how he meets a boy he likes there but they're both working through a lot of guilt and end up making things miserable for each other. It's still funny but one of the more touching stories in the collection.

"C.O.G." is when Sedaris spent time living in Oregon learning how to make clocks in the shape of Oregon from a man that is a C.O.G. ("child of god").  Well first, he has a hellish bus trip (are there any other kinds) followed by menial work picking apples. THEN he learns how to make clocks in the shape of Oregon to be sold at a local fair. Spoiler: no one needs that.

Sedaris's stories are great for when you want something light to read. They're funny and entertaining, but alright, not all that moving or memorable. Which is fine. I will most likely read more of his whenever I come across a copy of one of his books. And if I don't really remember the stories a few months later, neat, I get to read them again.

Gif rating:

Title quote from page 199, location 2655

Sedaris, David. Naked. Back Bay Books, 1997. Kindle.