Tuesday, March 29, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: squirrel seeks chipmunk by David Sedaris

I hadn’t ever read anything by David Sedaris and I thought I should remedy that. The problem was which book to read. Then I heard about "squirrel seeks chipmunk." Aesop’s fables for the twenty-first century. I made my choice.

In this collection of stories (that can be devoured in a sitting) Sedaris uses animals to show what is wrong with humans. This is not a unique idea but Sedaris puts a new spin on it, and the fables definitely have a modern tone. Squirrels date chipmunks, mice raise snakes, one lab rat tries to tell another that the only thing wrong with him is his attitude... With stories like these, he mocks the moral failings that are most recognizable today. There are sixteen tales in this bestiary. The messages are not subtle but they are cleverly represented. Sedaris has a reputation for the humor of his writing, but I found these stories too brutal to truly be funny. Clever, yes. Entertaining, certainly. But too painfully harsh to make me laugh.

From this intro to Sedaris, I can see why his writing has received so much acclaim. The voice is strong and it’s impossible not to be affected by what you are reading. So now the problem is which of his books to read next.


  1. Wow, this sounds amazing. I, like you, haven't read any David Sedaris and I just loved Aesop's fables as a child. It's gone straight onto my wishlist :)

  2. I've read one (Holidays on Ice) and a half (When You are Engulfed in Flames) books by David Sedaris. I find him always interesting, if not always funny. I wonder if sometimes I don't always get the humour that is intended. I often see where it's intended, but it doesn't always strike me as funny. Sure he's clever, and can be witty, and I want to read more of his work, but I can certainly understand your reaction. This one sounds intriguing. I'm not sure if it's released in Australia yet- I haven't seen it in a shop so far, but hope to read it one day. I know that I have at least 2 1/2 of his books waiting in the TBR.