There’s no right way to keep a diary, but if there’s an entertaining way, David Sedaris seems to have mastered it.
If it’s navel-gazing you’re after, you’ve come to the wrong place; ditto treacly self-examination. Rather, his observations turn outward: a fight between two men on a bus, a fight between two men on the street, pedestrians being whacked over the head or gathering to watch as a man considers leaping to his death. There’s a dirty joke shared at a book signing, then a dirtier one told at a dinner party—lots of jokes here. Plenty of laughs.
These diaries remind you that you once really hated George W. Bush, and that not too long ago, Donald Trump was just a harmless laughingstock, at least on French TV. Time marches on, and Sedaris, at his desk or on planes, in hotel dining rooms and odd Japanese inns, records it. The entries here reflect an ever-changing background—new administrations, new restrictions on speech and conduct. What you can say at the start of the book, you can’t by the end. At its best, A Carnival of Snackery is a sort of sampler: the bitter and the sweet. Some entries are just what you wanted. Others you might want to spit discreetly into a napkin.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
If you’ve ever wanted to step inside David Sedaris’ mind, this book is as close as it gets. In his second volume of diary entries, the droll humorist serves up priceless selections from the last 17 years, providing bite-size snapshots of his most amusing, poignant, and just plain weird encounters with family, fans, and complete strangers. From collecting colorful curses at a Romanian book signing to picking up trash in the English countryside, Sedaris’ anecdotes about two decades of globe-trotting are wildly entertaining. (Valuable life lesson: Don’t joke about bears to an Alaskan cab driver if you want to make it to the airport on time.) Of course, Sedaris is the perfect deadpan reader for the dry humor that makes these stories so hysterical, but for an extra treat, actor Tracey Ullman adds her own flair to the stories set in the UK and Ireland. Whether you’re already a devoted Sedaris fan or you’re just curious what all the fuss is about, A Carnival of Snackery is proof that big laughs often come in small packages.