“A person doesn’t consciously choose what he focuses on. Those things choose you, and, once they do, nothing, it seems, can shake them.” ~~ David Sedaris in Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls
From Lauren’s Perspective:
Hilarious and insightful as always, Sedaris has another hit with Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. The stories found within its pages did more than just make me laugh, they made me think. They made me question humanity and it’s current state, and whether its current state is positive or not. And most of all they made me really want to know David Sedaris in the way it felt like I already knew him after reading this collection of essays.
Reading a book like this, one full of very personal short stories about a writers life, is always hard to critique. I can’t do it in the way I would a novel, yet there is a lot to be said about Sedaris’ stories. He manages to write about a world that happens to be his reality, while still making it seem outlandish in some ways, unbelievable in some ways, and hilarious in most ways.
He writes about normal, everyday things like what to get his boyfriend for Valentine’s day in his story “Understanding Understanding Owls”, and he writes about all the amazing trips he goes on in just about all of his other stories. But even while travelling the world, seeing amazing things and experiencing life in a way everyone should, he manages to bring you with him. Instead of talking about staying in expensive hotels, he talks about renovating a home and picking up trash at the side of the road. Instead of talking about five star travel, and first-class lounges, he shares stories about a sea turtle that changed his life in Hawaii.
That’s not to say he tries to relate to everyone. That’s not to say he is trying to down play the amazing life he’s lived. He still tells stories about buying homes in Paris and in West Sussex, about living all over the world; but rather than tell us stories about a lavish lifestyle, he relates stories about the mundane things that happen within that sometimes lavish lifestyle. He makes you relate by showing you that no matter what, you will experience strange people in strange cities doing strange things, and sometimes those strange people will be your family and friends, and sometimes those strange cities will be the ones where you spend most of your life.
The best thing about Sedaris, in my opinion, is his ability to go off on a tangent while always bringing the story back home. What starts out as a story about an inside joke turns into a story about a journey for the perfect Valentine’s day gift, which then turns into a story about his love of strange and sometimes disturbing objects. But in the end, Sedaris brings his readers back to the importance of the owl, he brings his readers back to the reason he wrote the story to begin with. It feels as though you are reading twenty stories at once, you wonder where he could possibly be going with his stories, until suddenly, you don’t have to wonder anymore and everything makes sense. He always ends his stories perfectly, oftentimes throwing in a life lesson, or sometimes simply describing a peculiar life event, but always doing so with perfectly timed humour.
David Sedaris is a unique writer, in that he has spent most of his career writing about nothing but himself, even though he claims he hasn’t lived that extraordinary of a life. To have the talent to write about sometimes mundane things that happen in everyday life and turn them into something meaningful and hilarious is a wonderful thing. To give this to his readers time and time again is his gift to the world.
This book is perfect for anyone who claims not to be a lover of books, someone who doesn’t spend all their time reading. The stories are short, easy to get through, easier to laugh through, and perfect for anyone looking to get into some great summer reading.
Plot – N/A
Writing/Style/Form – 4/5
Characters – N/A
Enjoyment/Entertainment Value – 4/5
Overall Score – 8/10