David Sedaris's beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favoritesas the diaries of a Macy's elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris's tales of tardy trick-or-treaters ("Us and Them"); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French ("Jesus Shaves"); what to do when you've been locked out in a snowstorm ("Let It Snow"); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations ("Six to Eight Black Men"); what Halloween at the medical examiner's looks like ("The Monster Mash"); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry ("Cow and Turkey").
No matter what your favorite holiday, you won't want to miss celebrating it with the author who has been called "one of the funniest writers alive" (Economist).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Leave it to David Sedaris to revel in the quirkier (and less savory) sides of the Christmas season. This slim anthology of new and republished holiday-themed stories by America’s beloved satirist includes the legendary “The SantaLand Diaries,” a hilariously deadpan account of Sedaris’ disastrous stint as a department store elf. Elsewhere, he affectionately satirizes humblebrag Christmas letters and haphazard elementary-school pageants, before upping the absurdity with a surreal short story about dueling neighbors trying to outdo each other’s holiday spirit. Sedaris zeroes in on real life’s weirdness, grabs it tight, and gleefully twists ’til we can’t stop laughing.
Here are six Christmas tales sure to please readers new to humorist, playwright and NPR commentator Sedaris--and likely to disappoint his devotees. The three best pieces are reprints from his earlier collections, Barrel Fever and Naked. In "Dinah, the Christmas Whore," young David's 18-year-old sister befriends a prostitute and brings her home one night during Christmas vacation. In "Season's Greetings," a housewife facing homicide charges keeps her loved ones up-to-date on the case in a detailed Christmas missive. In the hilarious "SantaLand Diaries," Sedaris relives his short career as a Macy's department-store elf. In this memoir, the flagship of the collection, we see Sedaris at his wide-eyed best as he takes the SantaLand name of Crumpet, falls for an elf-Casanova named Snowball (as do "three Santas and five other elves") and discovers the seamy underside of the Christmas industry. Compared to the fully realized "Diaries," his three new sketches look very thin indeed: a splenetic theater critic pans the season's local school pageants; a TV producer tries to convince an Appalachian congregation to let him buy the weird life story of one of its members; two grasping, well-to-do families sacrifice everything, including non-vital organs, to out-give each other at Christmas. Sedaris never makes these one-liners pay off. Still, flashes of his customary brilliance, particularly as the critic ("In the role of Mary, six-year-old Shannon Burke just barely manages to pass herself off as a virgin"), will keep this too-slim gift book from disappointing neophytes who find it in their stockings.
Another fantastic blend of humor and memoir from David Sedaris. He has such a pleasant ability to tell life's stories in such a unique way, that you never get tired of reading them. In addition to his personal ordeals, he has a sprinkling of fictional holiday themed stories that do not fail to tickle. If this is your first Sedaris book, I think you will become a fast fan. I would recommend reading "When You Are Engulfed In Flames" as a follow-up to truly appreciate Davids gift of sharing life's lessons and inescapable realities.
Although they all are truly great stories, my personal favorite stories in this book are: Six to Eight Black Men, Christmas Means Giving and The Cow and the Turkey.
Holiday on ice
I am a huge David Sedaris fan. I have read most of his books, this being the last one to go. While there were some fresh stories within, at least half are told in his other works. I ended up skipping half of the book.