View Poll Results: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by Davis Sedaris

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Thread: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by Davis Sedaris

  1. #1
    Original Poster Buh4Bee's Avatar
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    Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by Davis Sedaris

    Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by Davis Sedaris was a delightful find at the local library. I ended up checking out the audio version of the collection of short stories and listening to it in my car during my commute. I have to admit I did not know what I was getting into when I first started listening, but to my surprise I was delightfully engaged.

    I had never heard of David Sedaris, but he seems fairly well established in the literary field as an author and homorist. He does not necessarily write literature, but he is a great story teller. His plots moves at a good pace and then with one sweeping motion the action has moved right passed you. At times, the humor makes you laugh out loud and the subtle twists are impressive. Becareful to not get caught in the trap of making predictions, because you may be disappointed. The stories are not formulaic, nor are the characters.

    These short are about the interaction of the characters as Sedaris is satirizing the most undesirable qualities of human nature. The characters, however, are animals. Whether a baboon hair stylist or a squirrel dating a chipmunk, the rules of the animal society still run parallel to our own, and yet somehow still consider the laws of nature. For example, a mouse can have a pet, but if the pet is a baby snake, in time, that mouse better watch out! As one moves through these fables, you begin to realize most of these characters range from mildly unappealing to revolting.

    Then there is the question of what makes these shorts fables. There is a lesson at the end of each story, but I think it is the unattractive nature of the characters that make each tale a legitimate fable. As you meander your way through the stories, you will laugh but you will also squirm as the stories turn you to face authentic cruelty and trickery. Just to emphasize the collectionís cynicism, these sorts of events can occurs with our own everyday lives when interacting with colleagues, neighbors and even our own family members. To bring it back to the short stories, most of these wee-beasts lack either the intelligence or the sensativity to truely connect to their fellow beasts. Is that a simple enough lesson for any of us?

    If I were a true literary critic, Iíd give this book a thumbs up (just joking). It is the perfect beach read! The book is compact, the stories are short and you can reread them and still be mentally satified. Who knows, you may be stuck in the car with your teenager and this may be the perfect way to reconnect. Imagine that?

  2. #2
    aspiring Arthurianist Wilde woman's Avatar
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    Great review, Jersea! I love David Sedaris in general, but this book is special to me for a number of reasons. First, I got to see (and meet!) him in San Francisco last year when this book was in its final stages of revision. He read us a number of the stories, to great bursts of laughter. One person in the audience was able to point out a mistake he'd made during one of his readings, and he made the correction right then and there in his manuscript.

    Secondly, animal fables are one of my favorite genres. I'm actually considering using some of the stories from this book for my composition class next year, whose theme is animal allegories. Wouldn't it be interesting to read Sedaris in juxtaposition with Aesop?

    My favorite is the final tale about the owl and the hippo. It is absolutely hysterical and somehow manages to get at the universal absurdity in everyone's families while talking about a really disgusting bodily process. How about you? Which one is your favorite?

    Finally, if you've only had the chance to listen to the audiobook, you might want to take a look at the book itself because it has some truly hilarious illustrations.
    Ecce quam bonum et jocundum, habitares libros in unum!
    ~Robert Greene, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay

  3. #3
    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    I'll keep an eye out for this Jersea.

  4. #4
    Original Poster Buh4Bee's Avatar
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    I think that is a great idea to juxtapose these stories to Aesop. How much FUN!!! If you don't do, it someone else will.

    I bet Sedaris is a nice man. I believe he performs the voice of the dog, who marries below his station in life. He puts on a truly hysterical version of an upper crust voice.

    I agree that the last story is the best, but I also enjoyed the mouse and snake, as I mentioned. I particularly enjoyed the story of the pelican sisters. I love the soliloquy the aunt delivers in front of her daughter, "Mommy has a headache and needs to rest before she puts on her slave hat." I just laughed at that line. She was ruthless as she discussed the time limit on the love of a mother for her off spring. And chastised the baby for asking for food. I think all mothers can relate to the dark humor here.

    Thanks for reading the review WW and Paul. It is worth reading for a good laugh- something lighter.

  5. #5
    Oh, he's incredibly nice! I met him recently when he came to my city on his book tour, and he is so extremely generous that he stayed for 3 hours to meet and greet after.

    I like all the stories, but the cat and the baboon is probably my favorite, perhaps because I got the privilege to hear him read it aloud. This hippo with the leeches was pretty good, though... lol. It's a brilliant book, I've known many people like the animals satirized.

    Great review, jeresa! If you are looking for more Sedaris to read, I would recommend "Naked." I literally laughed out loud through the whole thing.
    Last edited by Psyche Zenobia; 05-07-2011 at 12:31 AM.

  6. #6
    Original Poster Buh4Bee's Avatar
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    This was a great book. It was easy to write a review about the short story collection. Wow! I will have to try and look up his schedule and see if he ever appears by where I live. It would be a trip to meet a nice author. Glad that yo liked the review, but it really was the book that is so enjoyable.

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