Source: Little, Brown & Company
Hardcover, 275 pages
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Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris is a collection of essays and some short blurbs that he suggests could be used by students in their competitions for “forensics.” Many people talk about Sedaris’ humor and outrageous tales, and while many will look for his signature humor here, they may find that it is a bit subdued and less abrasive than usual. Many of these essays seem more reflective than probing (think poking with a needle), but they also resemble the tall tales that young children tell their parents when explaining what they did that day or why they got in trouble, etc.
“Their house had real hardcover books in it, and you often saw them lying open on the sofa, the words still warm from being read.” (page 60 ARC)
The first two essays in the collection showcase backhanded sarcasm aimed at American and especially modern ideas about parenting and socialized healthcare, especially the dark fear that socialized healthcare means dirty cots and “waiting for the invention of aspirin” and the coddling of kids who are clearly engaged in bad behaviors simply because a stranger points out the child’s misbehavior. The end of the collection, “Dog Days,” is a bit more crass in its humor, written in a rhyming poem about various dogs and the parts of themselves that are licked, snipped, and dipped. These little stanzas were by turns slightly funny to just mediocre as they are things that any person with “toilet” humor would come up with. In this essay collection, they stood out from the rest, but in a grotesque way.
The essays that reach back into his early family life are the most interesting, and the essay “Author, Author” is ironically humorless in its telling, but it drives the point home not only about author tours — the good and the bad — but also the changing landscape of book stores and readers. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris is an interesting essay collection, but fans may find it a bit more subdued than his other work.
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