Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

September 11, 2018 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, )

owlsLet’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris


The only thing better than reading a David Sedaris book is listening to one. His method of telling stories is captivating, and getting a whole book of his essays read to you by the author himself is a real treat. The book does get off to a rocky start, possibly because it’s a various collection, and not one centered on a particular theme like his earlier works. As a result, it was a little difficult getting in to this collection.

There’s an undercurrent of cruelty in these essays, either committed against or by Sedaris, that undermine the humor of the pieces, so the book lacks the charm that his earlier books have (the piece about the sea turtles was especially horrifying). He concludes his pieces with poignant observations that are thoughtful and meaningful, but getting there is a bit of a struggle. Later in the book, the essays return to Sedaris’ usual form, but at the beginning of the book, I was tempted to give it up.

Speaking of the beginning of the book, the tables of contents were different between the audiobook and print editions. They were mostly the same, but I noticed some pieces came later in the print version of the book than they did in the audiobook, and the monologue pieces all came at the end. At first, I thought I was reading an abridged version of the print book, but by the end, it contained all the same pieces as the dead tree edition.

Most of the book was read by Sedaris, but there were a few pieces where the producers used recordings of his live readings instead of having a studio-recorded version of the piece. Those were nice, since the audience feedback helps make some of the pieces. The one about waiting in airlines was especially good, moreso because it was one of those live recordings. I was less enthused about the musical pieces that acted as interludes between the essays. They helped to demarcate the different pieces, but they distracted from the endings of the essays.

Owls isn’t as engaging or as charming as Me Talk Pretty One Day or Holidays on Ice, but it’s still signature Sedaris storytelling. The pieces seem darker, and more self-analytical, but there are also the laugh-out-loud moments that one would expect from one of Sedaris’ collections. Fans will eat it up, but they might also come away from the book with a new outlook on Sedaris himself. At the very least, he comes across as very self-absorbed.

Started: August 30, 2018
Finished: September 6, 2018

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