David Sedaris, the “champion storyteller,” (Los Angeles Times) returns with his first new collection of personal essays since the bestselling Calypso
Back when restaurant menus were still printed on paper, and wearing a mask—or not—was a decision made mostly on Halloween, David Sedaris spent his time doing normal things. As Happy-Go-Lucky opens, he is learning to shoot guns with his sister, visiting muddy flea markets in Serbia, buying gummy worms to feed to ants, and telling his nonagenarian father wheelchair jokes.
But then the pandemic hits, and like so many others, he’s stuck in lockdown, unable to tour and read for audiences, the part of his work he loves most. To cope, he walks for miles through a nearly deserted city, smelling only his own breath. He vacuums his apartment twice a day, fails to hoard anything, and contemplates how sex workers and acupuncturists might be getting by during quarantine.
As the world gradually settles into a new reality, Sedaris too finds himself changed. His offer to fix a stranger’s teeth rebuffed, he straightens his own, and ventures into the world with new confidence. Newly orphaned, he considers what it means, in his seventh decade, no longer to be someone’s son. And back on the road, he discovers a battle-scarred America: people weary, storefronts empty or festooned with Help Wanted signs, walls painted with graffiti reflecting the contradictory messages of our time: Eat the Rich. Trump 2024. Black Lives Matter.
In Happy-Go-Lucky, David Sedaris once again captures what is most unexpected, hilarious, and poignant about these recent upheavals, personal and public, and expresses in precise language both the misanthropy and desire for connection that drive us all. If we must live in interesting times, there is no one better to chronicle them than the incomparable David Sedaris.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
It can be hard to find humor in loss, but best-selling author David Sedaris does just that in this hilarious and delightful collection of essays. With his signature snark and slice-of-life style, Sedaris shares his thoughts on aging in an extremely politically divided America during a pandemic, offering deeply moving life lessons along with the laughs. From moments where he cares more about the outdated names given to hurricanes than he does about his partner Hugh’s house actually being destroyed by one to darkly hoping that his father won’t actually “always be with him” after his passing, Sedaris expresses inappropriate thoughts that most of us wouldn’t dare to say out loud. His stories from lockdown had us laughing about the absurdity of those months spent in fear…especially when he considers buying coffee filters as a possible alternative to toilet paper. Happy-Go-Lucky is a much-needed source of light, especially if you’re going through a dark time.
Unrest, plague, and death give rise to mordant comedy in this intimate collection from Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day). The author covers rude service workers, difficulties in his own life, and goings-on in "Eastern Europe countries no one wants to immigrate to" where "hugs guard parked BMWs and stray dogs roam the streets.... There are cats too, grease-covered from skulking beneath cars, one eye or sometimes both glued shut with pus." He faces mask sticklers in a Target checkout line, sees a drunken mask scofflaw on a flight, and communes with BLM protesters while deploring their "lazy" slogans. Much of the book has a dark edge, as it recounts the decline and death of his 98-year-old father; Sedaris voices still rankling resentments "s long as my father had power, he used it to hurt me" and recounts his sister's accusations that their father sexually abused her. As always, Sedaris has a knack for finding where the blithe and innocent intersect with the tawdry and lurid: "His voice had an old-fashioned quality... like a boy's in a radio serial," he writes of a Nintendo-obsessed 11-year-old; " Gee willikers!' you could imagine him saying, if that were the name of a video game in which things blew up and women got shot in the back of the head." Sedaris's tragicomedy is gloomier than usual, but it's as rich and rewarding as ever.
Happy Go Lucky
I love reading Mr. Sedaris’s books. I love to read many different kinds of books, but ever since the day Apple “told” me I would probably be interested in ‘Me Talk Pretty One Day’, I was hooked. I won’t lie; sometimes I will choose a book either by it’s catchy title or illustration on the front, much like I will choose my next bottle of wine. And I was hooked. Having read almost all of his books since Apple gave me the gift of learning about this author, (and it was only three months ago!!), this book goes into the death of his father. There is a chapter where we learn many things never previously discussed about Lou Sedaris. Even though David makes light (mostly) about the way his father mistreated him growing up in his other books, this chapter really shocked me. However, this book, like all of his other books, is hilarious and fun to read, so this particular chapter and its serious topic was quite out of ‘character’ (not that I know him personally. Although I think we might be good friends :). Reading his stories or diary entrees has been SO awesome! (If you are reading this review Mr. Sedaris, I apologize for the use of the word ‘awesome’; given your absolute disgust with this over-used word!). But it is true. You will be reading along, everything going well and enjoying the story when all of a sudden the last sentence will just shock you. Whether it be because he made a remark and observation that really hit home with me, or he says something SO unexpected and sometimes, completely
distasteful, offensive and completely inappropriate ! Thankfully I have a fairly low moral bar and these times crack me up so much sometimes I just bust out laughing! I encourage anyone on the shelf to buy one of Mr. Sedaris’s books. Try to go in chronological, year-published order if you can. If not, no problem! One of my absolute favorite stories is ‘Season’s Greetings to our Friends and Family’-a Christmas letter that goes horribly wrong….so wrong! It’s not in this book (sorry!!) but whichever book you start with you are likely to laugh and maybe learn some things about yourself you didn’t know.
Insightful and Hysterical
Thank you David….
Best Sedaris Yet
David Sedaris never disappoints, however this may be my favorite book of his to date. I laughed out loud. In a courtroom, no less! Thought I was being sneaky reading it on my phone, however this book was simply too entertaining. Highly recommend.