Saturday, August 16, 2008

Holidays On Ice - David Sedaris

1997, 134 pages. Genre : (Semi) Non-Fiction, Humor. Overall Rating : C+..

    Six Christmas-themed stories (3 new, 3 previously-published) by David Sedaris. Among them : an over-the-top Christmas letter, a review of the neighborhood kiddie Christmas pageants, and a Christmas-is-Giving rivalry between two famiies that gets out of hand.

.What's To Like...
    Sedaris' wit is dry and hilarious. I kept laughing out loud, which isn't always desirable when one's spouse is trying to sleep. It's a quick, easy read. If, on December 30th, you realize you're still one book short of your reading goal, Holidays On Ice is your answer.

   .The best of the six stories is Santaland Diaries, recounting Sedaris' job at 33 years old of being a seasonal "Santa's Elf" at Macy's. The Christmas Pageant Review story, and "Dinah, the Christmas Whore" are good as well.

.What's Not To Like...
    The Christmas Letter story is a bit too in-your-face, even for me. Somehow, a tale with a dead baby (Spoiler alert : "I said WATCH the baby, not WASH the baby!) in a Christmas book is just inappropriate. The "Christmas is Giving" story goes on way too long. Overall, this is an uneven set of stories, and not a good choice as your first Sedaris book. Finally, this book sold for $8.99 new?! For 134 pages?! What a rip.
"Congratulations, Mr. Sedaris. You are an elf!"
    There apparently is some controvery about Sedaris' books. The NYT lists them in their Non-Fiction list, yet it is alleged that some of his essays are ...erm... hyperbolized. I've read three of his books so far, and all I can say is : I certainly hope Sedaris availed himself to hyperbole. If not, he was raised in the most dysfunctional family imaginable, and half the people he's met in life are shoe-ins (shoo-ins?) for the loony bin.

   .In closing, here are two quick teasers from the Santaland Diaries. If you find them funny, you'll enjoy David Sedaris. If not, Art Linkletter books are still around.

."A spotted child visited Santa, climbed up on his lap, and expressed a wish to recover from chicken pox. Santa leapt up." (pg. 25)
."Today a child told Santa Ken that he wanted his dead father back and a complete set of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Everyone wants those Turtles." (pg. 30)

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